Need Online Math Lessons? Spark 101 Can Help!

March 24, 2020 / Russell Brown, Content Design Lead

March 24, 2020 - 

We have had a number of visitors to Spark 101 looking for Math resources in the past few weeks. If you are looking for Math workbooks, then you are in the wrong place.  If it’s “real-world problems solved by STEM professionals” you desire, then you have come to the right place!  So, I would like to share with you a few of my favorite Spark 101 STEM Math resources with you.  (Remember that you can search for ‘Math’ on or click on the Math button on our home screen to see the Math videos.  If you are looking for a specific state indicator, you may search by that as well to see if we have a direct match.)

Clark Construction

I’ll start with my favorite Math video, ‘Positioning Tower Cranes During Construction on the National Mall.’  I really like how accessible to different levels of Math understanding this video is.   We have lessons for High, Middle, and Elementary School with the video on Spark 101.  If you are looking for something to do with younger students, here is an easy adaption of the lesson: 

·       Use the TC Worksheet in the lesson materials with the crane sizes at the top and make a model.

·       Cut out circles the sizes of the cranes and place them on the map on the worksheet. 

·       Children can move the model cranes around to see where they fit the best.  (This might even help many adults see how it might work.) 

·       If you do not live in the metro D.C. area, you can get on Google maps to find where a similar construction project might occur in your region to make the lesson more personal to your family or classroom community and then create the same model.  Remember to make sure that your students offer rationales to support their findings!


‘Data-Driven Decision Making in Technology Design’ is one of my all-time favorite Spark 101 videos.  At first glance, you might think it is all about technology, but there is a lot of Math in this one.  Our friends at AmerisourceBergen gave us access to share with you their Customer Matrix, WOW Factors, and the Product Road Map.  While we did change a few names to protect proprietary information, it’s their actual production information.  Students can see documents and the research that real professionals are using to solve these problems.  There is also a cool extra video called ‘Waterfall vs Agile Methodology’ where Paul explains the differences.


‘Navigating the Future of Autonomous Vehicles’ is another interesting Spark 101 video that uses Math.  The lesson is set for Algebra and Calculus. But you can make it more accessible to younger learners by using modeling like I mentioned in the Tower Crane video.  Create a model of a Caterpillar truck with the different sensors to identify the area where the sensors can ‘see’ around it.  Then put the truck in different situations and measure the distance around to see if it is safe for the sensors. If you have a large outdoor space, you could even make it life sized.  The skill of measuring and evaluating is great for any age learner.

Using Spark 101 at Home

There are many more videos on Spark 101 with Math as a focused skill.  Remember that our lessons are just ideas.  We want educators to change and adapt them to meet their needs.  That is one of the reasons why we keep our lesson plans downloadable. 

If you are new to Spark 101 or want to share our resources with people in your network, we created a simple step-by-step guide to show teachers and parents how to use our free resources. We also put together a post specifically about how to use Spark 101 as a distance learning resource.

Let us know how you are using Spark 101.  Visit us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share what ‘Sparks’ you!

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