Our scaffolded questions in Aktiv Mathematics are designed to give you a highly interactive experience with applying fundamental math skills to solving problems. Once you’ve become accustomed to a few basic manipulations and gestures used in all of these problems, these questions will give you a great opportunity to work through your problem solving steps, and get feedback on any mistakes you make along the way.
To begin, open a scaffolded problem on your computer or your mobile device, and tap or click on the math on your screen (on your computer, use your mouse to click; on your mobile device, tap on the math with your finger). As you continue to tap, you’ll notice that you can go from highlighting the entire equation or expression, and then narrow down to whatever term or terms you want to operate on:
You’ll notice that you can often highlight a term and its operator, or just the term itself. Be thoughtful about what you highlight – for some operations, you need to include the operator as well as the term.
Note: If you tap too far, and want to back up, simply tap anywhere on the screen outside of the expression you’re working on to take a step back.
Now that you’ve narrowed down to the term(s) you want to operate with, drag your highlighted selection, and drop it over (or next to) the term you want to operate on. You’ll see there are often two options. If you want to move your highlighted term to another place in the expression you’re solving you’ll see a blinking cursor, and you can place your highlighted term at that new location. You can also perform an operation by “dropping” that term over another term – in these cases you’ll see a “drop zone” highlighted, indicating there is an operation available for you to perform on these two terms.
Let’s say you want to drag one term over another in order to perform an operation. Once you’ve highlighted that term and dragged it over the term you want to operate on, you’ll see a menu appear that will give you choices for the outcome of that operation. You will select a choice from this menu, and the expression you’re working on will reflect this choice you’ve made. (Note: sometimes there are more than one correct choice available in that menu – some choices more fully simplified than others).
As you highlight components of the expression you’re solving, you’ll notice an “Action Menu” appear at the bottom of your screen. Depending on what you’ve highlighted, the operations available for you to perform on term(s) you’ve highlighted will appear at the bottom of your screen. Clicking these actions will often result in asking you to make a subsequent choice (for example, if you click “Factor” you will be asked what you want to factor by, and you’ll be asked to make that choice as well). Finally, you’ll see a menu of options for the results of that operation you’ve chosen to perform. Making a choice from that menu will once again update the math on your screen.
You’ll see that, in some cases, you have a choice to either perform an operation directly via a drag and drop action, or you might choose an operation from the Action menu. Throughout our scaffolded problems, we give you multiple options for moving through your problem solving steps.
As you’re working through your problem solving steps, you may want to go back and check your work. Clicking on the “clock” icon will open a screen that will allow you to review all the steps you’ve made, and if you want to change your mind about an earlier step, simply click that step from the list that appears, and the math on your screen will revert to that earlier step (we’ll ask you to confirm that you want to go back to this earlier step before you can continue).
Once you’ve completed all your steps, and you’re ready to submit your work, go to the top of your screen and click the “Submit” button. Once you do this, Aktiv Math will evaluate your steps, and if you’ve made a mistake, we’ll show you the timeline of your work, and let you know where you made that mistake. We’ll also give you some feedback to inform your next attempt at the problem.
If you do make a mistake, and you still have attempts left on this problem in your assignment, Clicking “Retry” will take you back into the problem at exactly that step where you made your first mistake. You can repeat this as many times as you have available attempts.