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Topic: Day 3 Math Forum Advanced Summer Institute
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Betsy Teeple

Posts: 67
Registered: 12/3/04
Day 3 Math Forum Advanced Summer Institute
Posted: Jul 9, 1998 12:42 PM
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The participants started a rainy day 3 of the Math Forum Advanced
Summer Institute in connections, and then on individual projects.

Dave then spoke on some uses of Javascript and Dynamic HTML
( He
began by explaining that Javascript and Java differ: Javascript was
created by Netscape with the purpose of augmenting HTML, whereas Java
was created by Sun MicroSystems. Javascript is useful for the
valuation of data in input forms. Dave encouraged the participants to
adapt any of the examples available
(, copying and
pasting source code. He noted, in the checklist function,
checkChecker(), that the first line reads

thevalue =;

"list1" refers to the name of the given to the pulldown list code, so
it should be changed accordingly. Dave also mentioned a few other
sites for examples of Javascript code
( To see
an example of one participant's work with forms, view Rob Rumppe's
online quiz

Following Dave's session, Bob Panoff demonstrated some the Shodor
Foundation's work. Project Interactivate
( explores fractals by iterating
line deformations, providing a tool for teaching pattern recognition
and self-similarity (
The Project Interactivate lessons are organized into three segments:
"What?" asks questions to be investigated; "How?" explains the how to
use the applet; and "Why?" develops other applications. In addition,
there are lessons linked to the table of contents of several math
texts ( He began with a
paper and pencil exercise, where participants drew a line with a
simple "kink" in it and then successively replaced each segment with
the same kink to the scale of that segment. Bob noted that this
exercise becomes tedious quickly and thus defined the point where
using applets becomes beneficial. In one example, Bob demonstrated
three fractals, each of which differed only slightly from the other at
the outset; when iterated, however, they resulted in very different
images -- the perimeter of the first approaching infinite length but
enclosing finite area, the second copying over itself, the last one
increasingly space-filling. He drew qualitative parallels from these
three illustrations of "sensitivity to initial conditions" to the
regeneration of healthy skin, the growth of a benign tumor, and the
spread of a malignant tumor, respectively. Bob requested feedback on
the pages, particularly on how to expand and clarify the "What?" and
"Why?" segments. The participants suggested adding information that
links the explorations to real world uses (such as the three examples
above), developing exercises that require more participation from the
students (similar to Sketchpad), and organizing feedback with
annotations so that others may view some participant results.

After lunch, Judy discussed developing effective online units. She
finds that, in particular, listing a table of contents and background
information (such as target age groups) speed navigation. When
inserting applets, it helps students to see instructions alongside the
applet. Here, Bob noted that applets can be more easily available to
several links when they stand alone. Ron Knott and Suzanne Alejandre
then demonstrated some of their online work on Fibonacci numbers
and "traffic jam"

In the next session, Nicole and Tushar introduced displaying
Mathematica, Maple, and Mathview notebooks on the Web
( Users can rotate graphs and
change equations to experiment with graphs already created. Of the
three, Mathview, which requires a plug-in
(, is the least powerful,
but also the least expensive and most interactive. To put a Maple
notebook on web pages, generate the notebook in Maple and save it as
an HTML file. Maple will then create three Maple HTML files and a
graphics file, which must be uploaded through FTP. To see Mathematica
on the web, download the application helper Math Reader
( Nicole and Tushar noted that with Maple and
Mathematica notebooks, it is not possible to create an interactive
environment. For more on implementing math software on the web, view
their example notebooks
(, read their
synopsis of comparisons
(, or e-mail them
directly at <> and
<>, respectively.

Steve then began the conversation about building online community
After looking at several online discussion communities, participants
moved upstairs to have a face-to-face discussion, a running record of
which appears in a <geometry-institutes> thread and has seeded some

Betsy Teeple and Richard Tchen

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