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Topic: It's Time to Speak Up for Math
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Math Forum Internet News

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Registered: 12/3/04
It's Time to Speak Up for Math
Posted: Oct 20, 2017 3:38 AM
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October 20, 2017 Vol. 22, No. 42


Between 2 Numbers | Speak Up | Socratic Study Groups



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."



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 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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