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Invigorating web content with Interactive Activities : Responding and Challenging ...
Posted:
Jul 10, 1998 11:00 AM


Regarding Evan's "Modeling Phone DataÃÂ module on step functions :
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/workshops/sum98/participants/glazer/phone/model.html
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 youÃÂre 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 ÃÂPaper TapeÃÂ 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 :
http://www.jars.com/listingJava.html
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/~steve/steve/java.html
http://www.frontiernet.net/~imaging/math_is_a_game.html
http://www.solutions.ibm.com/k12/weblink/links.html
http://wwwsci.lib.uci.edu/HSG/RefCalculators2.html
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/junkyard/topic.html
http://vlib.stanford.edu/Overview.html
http://euclid.math.fsu.edu/Science/Software.html
http://www.educationindex.com/education_resources.html
http://www.frontiernet.net/~imaging/graph_my_equation.html
http://www.cogno.com/grapher/grapher.html
http://www.mindspring.com/~slazare/simplePaperCalculator.html
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 doesnÃÂt have to be a onesizefitsall takeitorleave 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 ÃÂPianoÃÂ program and I extended it to be a ÃÂPiano / Synthesizer / OscilloscopeÃÂ 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 ÃÂLunar Lander GameÃÂ 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 doesnÃÂt 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, online participant, Incessant Java Advocate.
ÃÂImaging the Imagined : Modeling with Math & a keyboardÃÂ http://www.frontiernet.net/~imaging/contents.html
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