26 August, 2011
Volume 16 No. 34
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In This Issue

New Samples of PoWs

Earthquakes for Kids

Wolfram|Alpha in the K-12 Classroom: Contest and Free Seminars


Online PD


Orientation Sessions

Math and Tech Workshops


Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


New Samples of PoWs


Want a challenging open-response math problem — and solutions to it that students have written, with explanations, in their own words?

Freely download a Primary Problem of the Week (K-2), Math Fundamentals PoW (3-5), Pre-Algebra PoW (6-8), Algebra PoW, or Geometry PoW. Accompanying sample support materials include

  • Teacher Packets, for the "answer check," a range of solutions written by the Math Forum, tips about how to introduce the problem to students, and ideas about how to move students forward
  • Scoring Rubrics, for assessing your students' solutions with our six-category scoring grid
  • Scenarios, for a version of the problem set-up without the question — a good way to introduce the PoWs in your classroom and have students focus on the story of the problem

The Problems of the Week Library now has over 1,800 past PoWs, more than 300 of which feature support materials — all available with a class account:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"From Aug 3rd to Aug 31st, educators that contact 1-800-TI-CARES can receive a $50 coupon towards the purchase of a TI-Nspire CX or TI-Nspire CX CAS handheld...."
- Dana, posted to the secondary (grades 9-12) discussion group of the Association of Math Teachers of New York State

Earthquakes for Kids


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers puzzles, games, learning links and activities, science fair project ideas, animations, and an explanation of the science of earthquakes.

In particular, read a primer on earthquake magnitudes, which explains the logarithmic nature of the Richter scale:


Click the wide blue button to launch the "How Much Bigger ..." calculator:


The USGS offers more educational resources on earthquakes here:


For years, the USGS has collected data from individuals about the effects of the earthquakes they have felt — or not felt. Now done online, this crowd-sourcing helps researchers create instant Community Internet Intensity Maps (CIIMs) of shaking intensities and damage, sometimes providing data in areas that lack seismic instruments.

Share your experiences, in English or Spanish:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"One of my major teaching goals this year is to shift my Stats class to a project-based learning approach. The first unit is 'Exploring and Understanding Data,' and the project which guides the unit is 'How should Dave compute your grade in this class?' The article on median grading will be an incredibly useful addition to the students' resources, so many thanks to Steve for posting the link."
- Dave, posted to the ap-stat discussion

Wolfram|Alpha in the K-12 Classroom: Contest and Free Seminars


The makers of Mathematica want to hear from K-12 teachers who use Wolfram|Alpha in class -- and they're giving away more than a penny for your thoughts!

Reply to this recent blog post about how the W|A computational knowledge engine has positively impacted your teaching or your students' learning, and your comment of fewer than 100 words enters you for a chance to win your choice of Course Assistant apps for your entire classroom.

Wolfram has already rolled out coursework guides for pre-algebra, algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, and statistics. Check out the full slate of W|A apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad:


For complete rules of this giveaway, see


Hurry: the contest closes next Tuesday, 30 August.

Wolfram will then start offering free online seminars that provide an introduction and overview of how to leverage W|A for the K-12 classroom:



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