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Newsletter: Math Forum Internet News No. 2.15 (April 14)
Posted:
Apr 12, 1997 11:06 PM


14 April 1997 Vol.2, No.15
THE MATH FORUM INTERNET NEWS
Well Connected Educator  Building Model Surfaces  Why Trig?
THE WELL CONNECTED EDUCATOR
http://www.gsh.org/wce/
A publishing center and forum where teachers, administrators, parents, and others write about educational technology, join in conversations, and learn from one another.
Nominate your favorite classroom use or professional development site for the Teachers' Choice Web selection contest... join author Howard Rheingold in an online Forum and discuss the varying quality of information, the dangers of using old models, the opportunities of new models, and how to move into the future... or earn a stipend by writing about what you do in the classroom for publication on this site.
New articles and columns:
 Can an email project create friendship links across the generations?  Can computers make language barriers disappear?  Who is best equipped to help students and teachers learn to use a 'library without walls'?  How does a teacher provide help with topics beyond his range of knowledge?  Does television mix well with school work?
A project of the Global SchoolNet Foundation.
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SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SURFACE? JOAN'S HOUSE OF MODELS
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/models/choices.html
At the Math Forum we're interested in the use of physical models as aids in understanding threedimensional surfaces. Joan Hoffmann (Swarthmore '96) has created some pages for building surfaces discussed in multivariable calculus. Using yarn, she shows how to:
 trace a sine curve around the inside of a soda bottle  construct a simple or economy (appropriate for group learning situations) hyperbolic paraboloid in a cardboard box  using foam board, cardboard, a sharp Xacto blade, and glue, make f(x,y) = (x^2 * y) / (x^4 + y^2).
Do you have models of your own? Write up instructions for building them and submit them to
comments@forum.swarthmore.edu
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WHY TRIG? A MATHTEACH DISCUSSION
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/epigone/mathteach/lendchangpherm
You are teaching a group of skeptical high school students trigonometry and they want to know "Why do we learn Trigonometry?" Sharon Hessney
Responses to this question ranged from concrete examples of how trig is used to conversations about the validity and utility of the question as stated. Below are a few excerpts, and we encourage you to read the full discussion.
Trig is easy to defend! Any physical situation where two actors don't meet at right angles or are parallel requires trig. This includes virtually any realistic mechanics problem (cars on hills, the trajectory of a baseball or rocket, bridge design, road design, TV picture tube design, etc.) and many optics problems... Taken a step further, understanding many kinds of motion and vibration (sound, light "waves,"...) Now, try defending integration by parts...  Tim Corica, The Peddie School
Why is it that questions from students about different bits of math cause so much agitation among teachers? I wonder how often English teachers get "why should we study Shakespeare?" ...I suspect their answer is that people without passing knowledge of old Will are ignorant...  GYanos
I think it is because there is a strong feeling that since there are some uses for mathematics, the study of mathematics needs to be justified in terms of its usefulness... [but what about] history or music or literature. Are teachers of those subjects providing their students with job skills?  Jack Roach
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The Math Forum's gateway to these and other recommended math and education discussions, with directions for subscribing to mailing lists, can be found at:
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/discussions.html
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The Math Forum ** 14 April 1997
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