20 May, 2011
Volume 16 No. 20
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In This Issue

Math Forum Online PD Courses

Toys from Trash



Online PD


Orientation Sessions

Math and Tech Workshops


Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Math Forum Online PD Courses


"The course has got me excited again to use problem solving."

"I would absolutely recommend this course."

"I think the Drexel Math Forum offers a wonderful opportunity to ignite students' curiosity, passion and interest in mathematical problem solving."

Teachers from around the country have really enjoyed our online professional development! Read more of their feedback here:


There's still time to register for our next six-week asynchronous courses before they start at the end of the month:

All individuals who successfully complete courses will receive a certificate indicating that they have completed 15 hours of professional development. This is equivalent to 1.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Hurry — registration closes at 5 pm ET on Thursday, May 26.

PoW taking place: math problem-solving moment of the week

"I began to think of ways to do it... 1) My first inclination was to use non-right triangle trigonometry (law of cosines) and right triangle trig (cosine). This is how I did it.... 2) Now, I wanted to use another method to check myself. I noticed while doing my calculations that I could just use...."
- Will, highlighted in the Geometry PoW's Latest Solution

Toys from Trash


Arvind Gupta's step-by-step photographic instructions for building elegantly simple, do-it-yourself constructions include the "Math Magic" manipulatives

  • Paper Protractor
  • No-Glue Cube
  • Prismatic Patterns
  • Square Box
  • Circle to Ellipse

Some of these homemade constructions come with "one minute films" in English, Hindi, Malaysian, Marathi, Bangla, Tamil, Kannada, and other languages. Others feature PDFs to download more detailed instructional prompts. More "toys" repurposed out of everyday items playfully illustrate principles of astronomy, electricity, magnetism, pressure, light, acoustics, and more.

Recognized by organizations ranging from the Indian National Science Academy (Indira Gandhi Award for Science Popularisation) to the Council for Elementary Science International (Mary McCurdy Award) to his nation's association for the blind, Gupta recently delivered a TED lecture entitled "Turning trash into toys for learning":


Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"Our new superintendent is planning to do a trial where about 10 teachers at every school incorporate cell phones, wifi, and other technology in the classroom. I have to write up a proposal on how I would use this technology in the classroom. Do any of you use these resources consistently in your math classes?"
- Pamela, posted to the ap-calculus discussion group



This no-fuss, point-and-click pattern creator lets you take high-resolution graphics and easily turn them into eye-catching designs. Demo Repper online here:


Mixed-media artist Corinne Okada Takara is one member of the Repper community currently using the simple software to teach math. Watch videos and slide shows of her recent workshops with fourth- and fifth-graders from Hawaii and California as they explore angles and radial symmetry — complete with online pre/post assessment quizzes and alignments to state standards — by clicking through her website's "Explore" menu:


(In one of Corinne's slides, keen observers may recognize "Symmetry & Pattern: The Art of Oriental Carpets," a collaboration between the Math Forum and the Textile Museum.)

Aware that "budgets are often tight and that costs are often the 'show stopper' for these kinds of experiments in the classroom," Repper's two Dutch designers invite teachers to e-mail them for a free license of the full Repper Pro version to use on their classroom computers.

The duo also offers so_many_a_second, a "visualizer" that depicts a rate as an ongoing stream of representative icons cascading down your screen:

  • plastic cups used per second by airlines
  • smoking deaths per second
  • stars born per second

Click the split screen button to graphically compare those and other pre-selected statistics side-by-side, such as

  • bicycles produced vs. cars produced
  • babies vs. trees cut
  • supernovas vs. population growth

Or create your own — any rate up to 400 units per second:



This newsletter is provided as a service of The Math Forum, an online educational community for mathematics hosted by Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

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