Math Forum Internet News

Volume 3, Number 3

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19 January 1998                                   Vol. 3, No. 3

                 THE MATH FORUM INTERNET NEWS

    DiffEQ | Polyominoes | APSTAT-L Calculator Discussion


                    DIFFEQ RESOURCE CENTER
          AN ONLINE SOURCE FOR DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS
               
                http://diffeq.brookscole.com/

DiffEQ aims to become the place on the web where teachers and 
students of differential equations look first for the latest 
on:

  - workshops, symposia, and conferences
  - laboratory and project ideas 
  - the differential equations discussion/mailing list
  - online journals and newsletters 
  - commercial software, shareware, and freeware
  - online courses 
  - notes on projects and lessons: labs and worksheets
  - textbooks and course materials from Brooks/Cole

Prof. Glenn Ledder of the Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics,
Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, is Consulting Editor of the DiffEQ
Resource Center, which is sponsored by Brooks/Cole Publishing
Company.


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                          POLYOMINOES

Polyominoes, so named by Solomon Golomb in a 1953 talk
at the Harvard Mathematics Club, are shapes formed by 
connecting squares of equal size along at least one edge.  
For some fun on the Web with these challenging puzzles, 
see:


- POLYOMINOES - Philip I. S. Lei
  Java applets and more on dominoes, trominoes, pentominoes, 
  hexominoes, and other tiling problems:
  http://home.ust.hk/~philipl/omino/omiNo. html

- POLYOMINO ENUMERATIONS - Kevin Brown
  An article from the Combinatorics area of Brown's Math 
  Pages on the Web:
  http://www.seanet.com/~ksbrown/kmath039.htm

- PENTOMINO PUZZLE - Frank Ruskey
  An illustration of the puzzle, and links to many other
  related pages:
  http://sue.csc.uvic.ca/inf/misc/PentInfo.html

- THE PENTOMINOES PAGE -  Jay Jenicek
  Possible combinations and mathematical properties:
  http://lonestar.texas.net/~jenicek/pentomin/pentomin.html

- PENTOMINOES GAME - Robert Simms
  A spatial relations game in java script:
  http://www.math.clemson.edu/~rsimms/java/pentominoes/index2.html


Or search the Math Forum's Internet Resource Collection for
the words polyomino, pentomino, etc.:

         http://mathforum.org/dumpgrepform.html


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         CALCULATORS ON EXAMS (CHEATING?) - APSTAT-L

         http://mathforum.org/epigone/apstat-l

  Last week we highlighted a conversation about calculators 
  on the newsgroup MATH-TEACH. Another discussion on APSTAT-L,
  the Advanced Placement Statistics list, began about the
  same time, touching on the use of calculators for the 
  AP exam and moving on to the purpose of the exam, 
  positive calculator contributions, controlling to avoid 
  cheating, tests without calculators, calculator 
  'dependency', multiple choice tests, and much more.

"Calculators are not needed on the AP exam; they add nothing 
 to the exam; they do not train students to do what people 
 actually do when they perform statistical analyses (that 
 is, use computers), they distract students from statistical 
 thinking, and they open a can of worms for cheating...
 ...it is possible to write exam questions that test 
 statistical thinking without the need for any calculators. 
 I'll give some examples..." - Paul Velleman

"...what does the calculator bring to the process that
 enhances the assessment process?  My answers: (a) control of 
 extraneous variation due to differences in arithmetic ability, 
 and (b) speed of calculation... 
 ... students who have been using a calculator all year will 
 find it strange (threatening?) not to be able to use it...
 from their standpoint they are taking a high-stakes test in 
 an unfamiliar setting; now we would take another level of 
 familiarity from them..." - Chris Olsen

"What is being discussed is a surface problem that has its 
 roots at least in the middle school and is perpetuated in 
 many high school classrooms. That is the teaching of the 
 appropriate and inappropriate use of the calculator. Many 
 high school students come from the middle school environment 
 completely 'dependent' upon the calculator." - Bob Keefer

"I start with an axiom, upon which the following statements 
 rest: the assessment situation should mimic both the 
 classroom situation and the 'world beyond the classroom' as 
 closely as possible, within the constraints of time and 
 equity... I believe that the amount of _useful_ information
 that a student could access in an exam situation is 
 self-limiting." - Rex Boggs


   Find all the relevant threads by using the 
   searcher to look for Cheating with Calculators 
   (that exact phrase):

http://mathforum.org/discussions/epi-search/apstat-l.html

   For more about apstat-l, including how to join, see:
       
http://mathforum.org/discussions/about/apstat-l.html


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