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Topic: EDCO Technology Demo
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Claire Groden

Posts: 43
Registered: 12/3/04
EDCO Technology Demo
Posted: Oct 8, 1993 12:03 PM
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ET-MITT is a middle school teacher enhancement project (Empowering
Teachers-Mathematical Inquiry Through Technology. The focus of the
project is on the use of technology to foster an inquiry approach to
teaching and learning. We are currently developping two graduate level
courses for middle school teachers: Dynamic Explorations in Middle
School Geometry and Interactive Algebra Activities for the Middle
School. The courses will be taught at the University of Massachusetts,
Lesley College and EDCO in the Spring, summer and fall of next year.

I work on the geometry part of the project collecting materials and
software. I recently did a software presentation at EDCO on software
that we`ve been exploring. I thought the material might be useful to
some middle school teachers on the Forum. Warning! It`s a little messy -
essentially, it`s just my notes for the presentation. .......

Since we`re trying to foster an inquiry approach, we`re interested in
software that can be used as a tool, that has a more general, open
approach, rather than something that`s directive.

Dynamic Geometry Software:

One of the main tools we`re using throughout our courses is a piece of
dynamic geometry software. I`m sure you`ve all seen examples of some of
these, the Supposers being the precursors to the others. Currently there
exist The Geometry Inventor, Geometer`s Sketchpad and Cabri.

We`ve focused on Geometry Inventor because it`s easy to learn to use it
(which is an issue - how long does it take to become proficient in the
use of a piece of software) and because there`s plenty of opportunity
within the use of the software for kids to move from constructing
specific figures to general examples and we think the process of moving
from specific to general is a very important one in the middle grades
and relates well to the process of understanding variables in algebra.

There`s a new version of Inventor, not yet on the market. I like it
because it has pre-constructed geometric figures which brings more
geometry language in, and because it has a fixed perimeter and fixed
area function.

(Build a rectangle with fixed perimeter and measure lenghth of 1 side,
Move it to show change, measure perimeter, move, no change, area, move ,
change. Graph Side vs. area. Move shape around.)

A feature we think is important in software is being able to move
information from other pieces of software into analyze them. You can
move a picture into Inventor and then superimpose the construction and
measuring tools to analyze shapes, measure angles, lengths, area, etc.

We like Inventor for many things, however, we have bumped up against
some limitations and are currently beginning to look more closely at
Sketchpad and Cabri. We should soon be getting some information from
teachers who have used these pieces of software with 9 and 10 year old

Geometry in Context:

The NCTM Standards call for increased attention to connections between
mathematics and the real world. Geometry is a nice way to make that
connection and software can be part of that. We`re using a number of
different /contextualized softwares and beginning to look for ways that
we can analyze the mathematics in others and use them in our classrooms.

There are a number of bridgebuilding and related activities out there,
for example, EDC`s Structures curriculum and Alan Hoffer`s exploration
of what makes a geometric figure rigid in Geometry and Visualization.
Triangles are an integral part of truss bridges. Symmetry is a major
ingredient of stability. And there`s probably lots more - like what
kinds of triangles make sturdy bridges, vector analysis, etc.

A new piece of Mac software now makes it possible to test one`s ideas
about bridges. Bridgebuilder.

(Build bridge that doesn`t work (Geometry unstable). Build bridge that
gives numerical results. Talk about kids focusing on building an /efficient
bridge, collecting data, isolating variables, varying things
systematically - a good mathematical process for kids to go through.)

We`re working on a scale drawing unit in which we will design a
dwelling with a given area. With all students using the same area for
different designs, we can begin to explore the relationship between area
and perimeter. Then we`ll focus on 3D and spatial visualization - the
Middle Grades Mathematics Project has a nice unit on looking at
buildings from different perspectives. For this unit we`ll use a simple
CAD program called: Architecture - design your own home.

(Show floor plan) (Interiors demo showing 3D) (Landscape - don`t show -
tell a bit about it - has the different views like interiors, set the
age of the trees and see how they grow. I used it to model an
orienteering course, which I then moved into Inventor so that I could
create different courses of similar lengths.)

One of our activities is an exploration of combinatorics and symmetry
in the construction of a quilt design. We use Geometry Inventor to
explore geometric features like: similar triangles, congruence,
perpendicularity, transformations. Then we move into a paint program to
investigate the combinatorics of coloring in a certain number of pieces
in a square and into a draw program to explore the relationship between
lines of symmetry and numbers of different patterns you can create by
putting squares together. Another nice piece of technology that has
provided me with lots of information about the mathematics of quilts and
other things is the internet. I`ve been involved in a user group called
the Geometry Forum. Through it, I`ve gotten lots of valuable information
about geomety curriculum and research, interesting geometry problems,
connections to people who use geometry in real world applications. In
fact, I`m involved in an internet group of math quilters. We`re all
doing math blocks and trading them.

Paint and Draw programs (MacPaint, MacDraw, Aldus Superpaint)

I`ve come across a nice little piece of quilt software from the
Mathematical Sciences Education Board. It goes with a booklet of
assessment prototypes /Measuring UP and I`m thinking about it as a
useful assessment tool for our quilt activity. Plus the fact that it`s
really fun to play with and it`s CHEAP!

Quilt Designer

(Do one square and rotations)

(I am told you can FTP it off the network for free, but I haven`t
figured out how to do that yet. I sent my $20 in and had them mail it to


This past summer, as a result of my involvement on the Internet, I was
invited to a Geometry Software Conference sponsored by the Geometry
Center in Minnesota. A strong focus of the conference was the importance
of 3D Geometry, a lament about the absence of 3D geometry in the
curriculum and a call for greater focus on 3D geometry in grades

A number of people are working on 3D curriculum, including Mike Batista
of Kent State in an elementary school project with TERC and Alan Hoffer.
Alan demonstrated a piece of software he developed, 3D Images, and I
was impressed by it. I had been looking at this piece of 3D software in
the catalogue for a year, but hadn`t ordered it. My own 3D education has
been pretty limited, so it took some time for me to overcome my 3D
phobia and order this software. I`ve had it now for two weeks and I`m in
love with it. The only thing is, I now want a color Mac so I can use a
very important piece of this software (pull out 3D glasses).

3D Images

Demo: Relationship between a square and face, extrude, revolution, Cone
& double cone tools. Building regular polyhedra Build a sphere, show
cross section, mark cross section, divide by cross section. Examine how
a surface is created - goblet Face screen.

I`m not exactly sure how I`d want to use this software yet, but I`ve
been thinking about it inrelation to some of the shadow activities that
I`ve seen, for example a shadow activity that Dick Lesh from ETC
presented at the Forum workshop this summer.

Something I think I`d like to have on this software is the ability to
measure things (angles & distances & surface area) But I think I can get
around this by copying and pasting a picture into one of the dynamic
geometry software pieces, like Inventor and measuring there.


I`m relatively new to Logo, but I like it. I taught middle school
before Logo became popular, went into business and have the last few
years come back to a new and what I consider to be an exciting era in
mathematics education.

There are a couple of pieces of Geometry/Logo software that are
currently being developed. One is by Richard Lehrer. It links defining
and constructing a figure with Logo, a really nice way for kids to work
with the properties of geometric figures and relate them to the logo
environment. This is not currently available on the market, but I hope
a version of it does get finalized and the other is Geo/Logo, developed
by Doug Clements . Doug Clements University of Buffalo- has previously
developed (with Mike Batista) an elementary geometry curriculum based on
Logo and is currently working on two new K-6 mathematics curriculum
projects with people at TERC.

Geo-Logo will be marketed this coming year and combines many of the
strengths of dynamic geometry software with Logo. It will come with many
activities and is also going to be used with a curriculum (Connected
Mathematics) which is being developed by the people who developed The
Mouse and the Elephant - the Middle Grades Mathematics Project.

Geo/Logo -

Short demo of main features. Can set and measure angle and distance,
move turtle by hand and watch Logo language change, work on a grid,
create a script, step the motions, etc.

I`m enclosing a list of suppliers for the software that you`ve seen and
if you have any questions, you can call me at:

Claire Groden (617) 873-4145

EDCO Technology Demo:

Dynamic Geometry Software:

Geometry Inventor : Wings for Learning, 1600 Green Hills Rd., P.O. Box
660002, Scotts Valley, CA 95067-0002. (800) 321-7511 New version
probably going to be distributed by Logal America - information coming

Geometer`s Sketchpad - Key Curriculum Press, 2512 Martin Luther King,
Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. (415) 548-2304

Cabri - Cabri Software (France) Email:

Geometry in Context:

Bridgebuilder - Pre-Engineering Software.1266 Kimbro Drive, Baton
Rouge, LA 70808. 1 (504) 769-3728.

From Abracadata, P.O.Box 2440, Eugene, OR 97402. (800) 451-4871:

Design Your Own Home
Design Your Own Railroad

Paint and Draw programs (MacPaint, MacDraw, Aldus Superpaint)

Quilt Designer - Mathematical Sciences Education Board, National
Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constition Ave NW, HA476, Washington, D.C.


3D Images - Wm. K. Bradford & Co., Acton, MA. 1 (800) 421-2009


Geo/Logo - Doug Clements University of Buffalo Susan Einhorn, Director
of Marketing, LSCI, 3300 Cote Vertu Road, Suite 201, Montreal, Quebec,
Canada H4R 2B7. (800) 321-5646.

For additional information, contact Claire Groden at BBN Systems &
Phone: (617) 873-4145
or Laurie Pattison-Gordon at BBN Systems
& Technologies
Phone: (617) 873-2695

From usenet Sat Oct 02 12:30 PD 1993
From: Dover-Sherborn High School <>
Newsgroups: geometry.pre-college
Date: 02 Oct 93 12:30 PDT
Subject: DSHS Journ.-Filling in Gaps
Message-ID: <>
X-APC-HostID: 1
Sender: Notesfile to Usenet Gateway <>
Lines: 215

October 1, 1993

Let's see if I can fill in some of the gaps.


At present I have access to a Mac and a piece of equipment (name
unknown to me) that projects the computer screen onto the pull
down screen in my room. I have used it so far for demonstrations
of Sketchpad's capabilities, to help students understand ideas such
as altitude, median, and perpendicular bisector, and to gradually
acquaint the students with the tool box and menus.

The computer labs (I will be using two different labs), are still in
the "set up" phase - including negotiating schedules, linking
computers, loading programs, and dealing with the politics of
schools. My most difficult hurdle still lies ahead - securing a
computer room key for my key chain. For the past two years I
have had to go to the computer room and ask a teacher in an
adjacent room to open the door for me. More then once, I stood in
the hall with 15-20 students (when the teacher was not available)
while a student ran down to the office to have a janitor or
administrator come to the room to open it. Security must be

Hopefully by next week, I will be taking my classes over. There are
just enough computers so that the students may work in pairs.

Many students seem eager to begin using the computers, entering
class each day asking if we will use computers that day.

Problem solving:

Students are beginning to understand and become more
comfortable with the requirements of the 'problem of the week'
assignments (see written evaluation document). I have assigned
four problems to date. The most resent was to answer the
question: What is the relationship between the number of rays that
are drawn from a single point and the number of angles formed?

Students had a chance to ask questions when the problem was
assigned, were required to write a rough draft for homework, and
then were given a chance to ask questions the next day in class.

Students are telling me that they have not had much experience
solving problems - that they are threading in unfamiliar territory.
In response to this, I xeroxed and distributed what I considered to
be one of the best student papers from last week. We read through
the paper together and identified important elements that
contributed to its excellence (again referring to the written
evaluation document).

I'm concerned that I am teaching students a "canned" approach to
solving problems - in other words imposing a structure or lattice
upon them. I would prefer a more open-ended, developmental
process: asking students to pose questions or situations they wish
to investigate, 'allowing' them to determine the course, set the sails,
and navigate the wide open seas. I have taken this tact in the past
and would have been satisfied with a lot of shipwrecks and
scattered treasures. Instead, a vast majority of the students looked
(and I promise not to stretch the metaphor beyond this point) lost
at sea, unable to act on my instructions. There frustration levels
were high - it was very difficult for them to "hang in" with me on
the journey I was suggesting. I wound up providing them with the
"canned" version in order to get them off the mark. Perhaps I have
given up too soon and/or lacked the necessary experience. In any
case, I have much to contemplate in this area. If this is at all
coherence and of interest to anyone, I would of course welcome
your ideas and questions. Perhaps someone could provide a
"canned" road map for how not to provide students with a "canned"
road map for solving problems!


EDC has written a draft of a paper concerning the Big Ideas in
Geometry. In it the authors speak of mathematics as a super-set of
ordinary language containing extra constructs and symbols for
description. Michelle Manes - - may be able to
provide copies if anyone is interested. The document contains a lot
of interesting ideas that I am finding useful as I attempt to provide
frameworks and contexts for the work we do in the geometry

I used Serra's materials to help the students learn the first set of
definitions. The widget exercise group and the inductive approach
to learning the definitions. Serra provides three or four diagrams
to represent a relationship, say triangles with unequal sides, three
or four diagrams with un-similar characteristics, and asks students
to write a "good" definition of a scalene triangle. His definition of
"good" definition (precise, withstands counter-examples, and
reversible) appears to be very useful for students.

After students completed two nights of writing definitions and two
twenty minutes periods in their small groups discussing
definitions, we spent 30 minutes as a class answering any
remaining questions (I used Sketchpad here when I felt it would
help.) The first evaluation on definitions, the scores ranged from
60% to 88%. I stressed that after only two weeks of class, everyone
knew approximately 2 out of 3 geometric definitions (from a list of
75 or so). I reminded students to try and view the evaluation as a
landmark on our journey toward becoming mathematician. (I
didn't state it exactly like this!) If results were poor we would
reflect on our habits and conduct an inventory of sorts; perhaps
revise our strategies. (I think everyone gets the idea>)

Community (Collaborative Classroom):

We've agreed upon behavioral norms; we've agreed to meet
periodically, or when necessary, for after school conferences.
Students have shared their most powerful learning experiences
and their math autobiographies. We have done two introductory
exercises (which contained patterns which could be expressed as
functions and arrived at through a collecting data and identifying
relationships) and one group problem solving exercise called Zin
Obelisk (I'll post this). Three students in each class have agreed to
act as observers of our class and provide a brief written report -
without using specific names for now. I was out of school
Thursday and Friday of this week because my fifteen month old
son, Brendan, was sick with the croup, so I'll have to report further
on this at a later date.

Students were asked to write up the zin exercise as a 'problem of
the week' and also to complete the Group Problem Solving
document, including a paragraph or two, in order to provide
information and data for reflecting on our process.

They seemed to have a lot of fun zin. I always have fun observing
their interactions. Each year I'm amazed at what students are
capable of doing when asked. And a couple of 'student facilitators'
always seem to rise to the occasion. I'll say more about this later,
but by the end of the first term - sometimes sooner, sometimes
later - students facilitate class (to various degrees, at particular
times and in certain circumstances).

Next week I plan to:

-spend 20 minutes or so of one class processing the zin exercise
(beginning with a summary of their evaluations),

-depending on the results of the definitions evaluation (which by
the way also included a couple of inductive exercises) do something
different with definitions,

-begin constructions using straightedge and compass and

-spend one class doing three exercises I use dealing with
- in one I present students which various arrangements of line
segments and ask them to identify which are longer; of course
they are arranged in such a way that the eye and mind interpret
the relationships incorrectly in at least half the case for most
students (and adults).
- in another I present students with a sketch of a woman - some
students see an old woman, some see a young woman.
- in the third I simply draw a representation of a cube on the
board (with all solid lines) and ask them to describe the cube they
see - which face of the cube is closest to them or farthest away.
When I ask them to look again for another cube 'within' the same
lines, about half see it within seconds, followed by a chorus of
'wows' and 'neat'. The other half, say things like 'what?', 'where?'
and 'I don't see it. It's fun - and of course several interesting
conclusions can be draw from the exercises - which I ask the
students to write about and share.

In trying to fill in the gaps, I realize that I have created many
others (i.e. How am I planning to introduce constructions?) I do
have other plans and strategies and would love to share them all,
but time marches on and I'm marching to bed.

(I hope this is in some way interesting to someone besides me?!)

Zin Exercise:

In the ancient city of Atlantis, a solid, rectangular obelisk, called a
zin was built in honor of the goddess Tina. The structure took less
than two weeks to complete.

The task of your team is to determine on which day of the week
the obelisk was completed.

You will be given slips of paper containing information related to
the task. You may share this information orally, but you may not
show your cards to other team members.

*The basic measurement of time in Atlantis is a day.
*An Atlantian day is divided into schlibs and ponks.
*The length of the zin is 50 feet.
*The height of the zin is 100 feet.
*The width of the zin is 10 feet.
*The zin is built of stone blocks.
*Each block is 1 cubic foot.
*Day 1 in Atlantian week is called Aquaday.
*Day 2 in the Atlantian week is called Neptiminus.
*Day 3 in the Atlantian week is called Sharkday.
*Day 4 in the Atlantian week is called Mermaidday.
*Day 5 in the Atlantian week is called Daydoldrum.
*There are five days in an Atlantian week.
*The working day has 9 schlibs.
*Each worker takes rest periods during the working day totaling16
*There are 8 ponks in a schlib.
*Workers each lay 150 blocks per schlib.
*At any time when work is taking place there is a gang of 9 people
on site.
*One member of each gang has religious duties and does not lay
*No work takes place on Daydoldrum.
*The zin is made up of green blocks.
*Green has special religious significance on Mermaidday.
*Each gang includes two women.
*Work starts at daybreak on Aquaday.
*Only one gang is working on the construction of the zin.
*There are eight gold scales in a gold fin.
*Each block costs 2 gold fins.

From usenet Mon Oct 11 18:10 PD 1993
From: Dover-Sherborn High School <>
Newsgroups: geometry.pre-college
Date: 11 Oct 93 18:10 PDT
Subject: test - posting problem
Message-ID: <>
X-APC-HostID: 1
Sender: Notesfile to Usenet Gateway <>
Lines: 8

This is part two of a two part test.

Apparently not all of my postings are actually making it to the
Geometry Forum.

Since I post through two different avenues, I am testing each.

This is posted through my Peacenet account.

From usenet Tue Oct 12 15:29 PD 1993
From: Dover-Sherborn High School <>
Newsgroups: geometry.pre-college
Date: 12 Oct 93 15:29 PDT
Subject: test-wellesley
Message-ID: <>
X-APC-HostID: 1
Sender: Notesfile to Usenet Gateway <>
Lines: 8

This is part one of a two part test.

Apparently not all of my postings are actually making it to the
Geometry Forum.

Since I post through two different avenues, I am testing each.

This is posted through my Wellesley account.

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