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Topic: Invigorating web content with Interactive Activities : Responding and Challenging ...
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jul 10, 1998 11:00 AM

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Paul Flavin

Posts: 21
Registered: 12/3/04
Invigorating web content with Interactive Activities : Responding and Challenging ...
Posted: Jul 10, 1998 11:00 AM
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Regarding Evan's "Modeling Phone Data” module on step functions :

I was glad that you were able to incorporate interaction with your
students in your "Modeling Phone Data" module about Step Functions by
using Java and Javascript programs.

My own feeling is that while the Internet has great potential, if
what is being published is nothing but pictures and text, then putting
it on the Internet is an inconvenient and constraining way of letting
some one digest the material.

Books are more convenient for leafing through, carrying around, and
curling up with.

If you’re going to constrain someone to sitting at a desk in front
of a computer, then you really should take full advantage of the
computer and have the computer add interactive features, as you have
done with the interactive graphing program.

Java tools freely available on the web include multiple programs
that let you :

- enter an equation and have it graphed for you.

- calculators, including ‘Paper Tape’ calculators that let you
see multiple lines of the calculation.

- Prove the Pythagorean Theorem graphically

- view and rotate 3 dimensional Geometric objects ( such as the
Platonic Solids )

Here are some links that may be useful to you and other math
teachers publishing on the web :

Please consider that once a program has been written is fairly
simple to modify it further to customize and optimize it for a
particular task, so it doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all
take-it-or-leave it proposition.

For instance, I have one of the programs that lets you enter an
equation and have it graphed for you, and it is a good general purpose
tool, but a good carpenter, a good mechanic, a good mathematician has
many tools and should choose the right one for the given task,
developing and acquiring new ones as needed, so I view the current
incarnation of the program as only a starting point.

I had a Java ‘Piano’ program and I extended it to be a ‘Piano /
Synthesizer / Oscilloscope’ to provoke kids into thinking about the
math and physics in the context of their musical instrument and
favorites songs.

I have a Java calculator, and could extend it from decimal only
notation, to include fractions ( as I have done with other programs ).

I have a ‘Lunar Lander Game’ where you try to land a spacecraft on
the moon where you decelerate and navigate the craft using a vectored
thrust, managing your velocity and fuel to land arrive at the desired
location ( managing the momentum so the landing impact doesn’t destroy
the ship) which could be extended ( deviously ) so that to win the
game the player would compute various angles, vectors, and physics
equations to plot a winning strategy.

-- Paul Flavin, on-line participant, Incessant Java Advocate.

“Imaging the Imagined : Modeling with Math & a keyboard”

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