What’s Out There? Investigating Online Teacher Created Activities
Meg MacNeille ’21
Lara Dick, Mathematics
Helen E. Royer Undergraduate Research Fund
Despite the popularity of online teacher-created resource-sharing sites, little is known about the scope and quality of elementary mathematics activities from these sites. Our research specifically focuses on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), a rapidly growing educator resource site where teachers can create and sell their own content to other teachers without the process of peer review. This leads to the question, are these high-quality activities? To answer this question, we downloaded the top 500 free and top 500 less than $5 mathematics activities from TpT. Our findings are separated into two grade bands: K-2 and 3-5. Given the difference in learning styles for the two grade bands, we deemed it very necessary to look at the data in separate groups. We coded each activity for its intended grade level(s), Common Core domain(s), picture type (Brändström 2005), and level of cognitive demand (Smith and Stein 1998). Broadly speaking, our findings revealed a high dependency on price dictating the quality of the activity. We also saw finding quality activities for grades 3-5 is a very difficult task, unless money was involved. This poses a further question, is the marketing and potential payout putting children’s learning in the shadows? Brändström, Anna. 2005. “Differentiated Tasks in Mathematics Textbooks an Analysis of the Levels of Difficulty.”; Dissertation. Lulea University of Technology. Smith, Margaret S, and Mary Kay Stein. 1998. “Selecting and Creating Mathematical Tasks: From Research to Practice.”; “Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 3(5): 344-50.