Math Forum Internet News

Volume 1, Number 11

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    16 December 1996                     Vol. 1, No. 11

Vermont Portfolio | Polyhedra | Adult Numeracy | Four 4's Puzzle



      An Ant is at the bottom of a 12-foot-deep
      well and is trying to get to the top. During
      the day it climbs four feet but at night it
      slides back two feet. How long does it take
      for it to get out of the well?

   The Vermont Portfolio Program invites students to
   use creative strategies to solve story questions.
   Students choose a problem to solve and send in a
   solution showing how they found it; assessments
   of their efforts are returned via e-mail.

   Questions are provided to help guide students 
   toward finding a strong solution, along with 
   suggestions for problem-solving and communication 
   skills, and solution strategies.

   This site is the Forum's DECEMBER HOT SPOT:



Suzanne Alejandre's new Web unit introduces students to
the surface area of polyhedra, focusing on the importance
of measurement. She supplies numerous nets in the form of
handouts to be cut out and folded in the classroom.

Students calculate the surface area of a rectangular
prism; name the characteristics (number of edges, faces,
vertices, and the shape of the face) of six specific
polyhedra (cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron,
icosahedron, and cuboctahedron); demonstrate their
understanding of these characteristics; and explore
polyhedra in the real world through crystalline
structures and 'buckyballs'.

Writing samples and suggestions for student activities
are provided, and all objectives are coordinated with
the NCTM Standards.


                    WHAT IS NUMERACY?

Numeracy can be defined as "...the aggregate of skills,
knowledge, beliefs, dispositions, and habits of mind -
as well as the general communicative and problem-solving
skills - that people need in order to effectively handle
real-world situations or interpretative tasks with
embedded mathematical or quantifiable elements."

  -Iddo Gal, "Big Picture: What Does "Numeracy" Mean?"
  Reprinted from the Sept./Oct. 1995 issue of _GED Items_,

  The Math Forum hosts a page with links to related 
  Web sites, mailing list information, and a selection 
  of articles on the subject:


  On the Adult Numeracy mailing list participants engage
  in lively, focused discussion. The Math Forum provides
  searchable archives of this list:


  To subscribe to the Adult Numeracy list, send e-mail to The body of your message should
  say "subscribe numeracy" (just the words, not the
  quotation marks). You may leave the subject line blank.


               RUTH CARVER'S FOUR 4'S PUZZLE
  The 1996 Puzzle featured in our last newsletter filled
  up so fast we thought we'd offer another similar test
  of your ingenuity. Here's the challenge: using four 4's 
  and any operations, try to write equations that have 
  the numbers from 0 to 100 as the answer. 

  As this is the first announcement of our Four 4's Puzzle, 
  if you act quickly you should find plenty of open slots. 
  Please send answers using the e-mail link on the Web page.


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