Math Forum Internet News

Volume 22, Number 42

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 October 20, 2017                               Vol. 22, No. 42


      Between 2 Numbers | Speak Up | Socratic Study Groups


                        BETWEEN 2 NUMBERS


 How many dump trucks would it take to haul away the volume of
 Mt. Everest?

 One trillion seconds is about how many years?

 Would an adult small intestine stretch out to the height of a
 giraffe? a human? an elephant? the Empire State Building?

 These and dozens more questions -- with simple, evocative
 illustrations and multiple-choice responses -- enliven a new
 site that Fawn Nguyen launched last month.

 The middle school math teacher first appeared here five years
 ago, when her Visual Patterns website went online; her blogging
 subsequently inaugurated the "Teachers's Corner" column of our
 PoWerful Ideas newsletter:

 For this newest project of hers, Nguyen drew inspiration from
 John Allen Paulos's book "Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy
 and Its Consequences." She explains that ratios and
 proportional reasoning make up much of her curriculum in
 southern California so, "I'm always comparing stuff." Her new
 site's "about" page shows her personal interest in scale with
 a photograph of a flip-flop that she tossed onto an outdoor
 sculpture of a gigantic Danish clog in Solvang, California.
 This prompted her to wonder about the height of a person who
 could wear such oversized shoes.

 Jules Bonin-Ducharme has translated Nguyen's thirty entries
 into French, available by hovering over the numbered section
 links at the top of "Between 2 Numbers."


                            SPEAK UP


 The Speak Up annual survey gives individuals the opportunity to
 share their viewpoints about key educational issues -- and to
 influence local, state, and federal policies and programs.

 Speak Up 2017 began Monday with three themes -- one titled "Why
 Math Matters." Twenty-question surveys for students present
 them with such prompts as these:

    - What would help you become a better math student?
    - What stops you from using technology at school?
    - Imagine you are building a new school. Which of these
      items would you have in that school to help
      students learn?
    - Tell us about your favorite online activity that helps you
      with learning. . . .

 The surveys for adults ask, among other questions,
 the following:

    - What do you think is the best way for today's youth to
      acquire math skills?
    - How do you use technology to facilitate learning for
      your students?
    - Which instructional resources and strategies are most
      effective for helping students develop proficiency
      in math?

 Speak Up began in 2003 under the name NetDay and then merged
 with Project Tomorrow. Last year, more than half a million
 students, parents, educators, and community members from over
 6,000 schools nationwide participated. This marks the first
 year that math has received specific attention as its own
 theme in the online research survey.

 Project Tomorrow's recent reports have included "From Print to
 Pixel: The Role of Videos, Games, Animations and Simulations
 within K-12 Education" as well as multiple "Trends in
 Digital Communications":

 Download welcome packets, flyers, and other promotional
 materials -- some available in Spanish -- to help spread
 the word:



                     SOCRATIC STUDY GROUPS

 Socratic recently released a major update to its app that does
 "homework in a snap."

 Appearing here upon its launch in January, Socratic allows
 students to take a picture of an algebraic equation -- typed or
 handwritten. The free mobile software then breaks it down, step
 by step; uses Explainers -- which elaborate on underlying
 concepts using simple language and visuals -- to show how each
 step works; and presents graphs, curated videos, and
 relevant definitions.

 Last Tuesday's release of version v4.0 for iPhone and iPad lets
 students create study groups, chat with classmates, and send
 questions to friends -- "like a group chat, but better: see
 who's online, share class notes, and get your homework done
 together without even switching apps." Watch it in action:



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