What exactly are maps? What is the history of mapmaking? What mathematics do you use with maps?
Cynthia Lanius' new Web unit discusses how maps are used and gives examples of different kinds of maps. It covers the history of maps and math topics related to cartography: lines, points, areas, coordinates, etc., in particular scale, coordinate systems, and projection.
Math problems featuring Web-based technologies help students learn about latitude and longitude, and a mapmaker crossword puzzle teaches vocabulary. There's a list of cartography sites on the Web to use as resources for learning about maps and careers in mapmaking, and teachers' notes following the NCTM Standards and a bibliography of off-line references are also included.
The problems range in difficulty; some can be 'classic' while others draw from science, construction, or similar areas. They are sent as text only, and never require any special equipment or software to solve. Sometimes a program like the Geometer's Sketchpad is helpful, but it's never necessary.
As solutions are received, each is read and evaluated. Notable answers often get a personal note of praise from Annie Fetter, Student Project Coordinator, who posts the problems and supplies feedback. Incorrect answers or those needing improvement receive a reply from Annie with suggestions and encouragement to resubmit the answer.
Each archive entry includes a statement of the problem, a helpful illustration, comments from Annie on the solutions received for that week, highlighted solutions, and the full list of correct submissions.
Ruth Carver's 'Year Puzzles' have become very popular! To ensure that everyone can begin at once, no submissions will be accepted until a puzzle has been announced in this newsletter.
Using only the digits in the new year, 1997, in combination with any mathematical operations (addition, division, etc.), try to write expressions that produce the numbers from 0 to 100. The solution for each number and the name of the first person to send it will be posted.