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This list offers good places to begin looking for individual high school lesson plans or materials on which to base them. For more sites, see our page of high school lesson plan collections, browse all lesson plans, or search the Library.

Selected Sites

  1. 3-D Drawing and Geometry - Cathi Sanders
    A Math Forum Summer 1998 Institute project that uses examples of paintings, architecture, etc. to analyze different types of 3-D drawings, and teaches students how to create them. Careers in 3-D drawing that use these techniques, from architecture to movies, are also illustrated. Types include isometric, oblique, and perspective drawings. A drawing project for students is outlined and submissions are invited. more>>

  2. Algebra - Fun with Calendars - Cynthia Lanius
    Take any calendar. Tell a friend to choose 4 days that form a square. If your friend tells you only the sum of the four days, you can tell her what the four days are. How does the puzzle work? Includes a extension page for designing your own puzzle, teachers notes, and links to calendar pages on the Web. Mathematics topics: assigning variables, solving simple linear equations, factoring. more>>

  3. Building an Icosahedron as a Class Project - Frederick J. Wicklin
    A Teacher's Guide. This document describes how to build an icosahedron as a class project. The size is up to you. Step-by-step instructions are provided, as well as figures, diagrams, and templates. more>>

  4. Chameleon Graphing: Lines and Slope - Ursula Whitcher
    A Web unit for middle school and early high school students, in which Joan the Chameleon introduces and explores lines and slope, to accompany a unit for elementary and middle school students on The Coordinate Plane. See also Whitcher's unit on Plane History. more>>

  5. Classification of Patterns - Brown-Herbst, Donnelly, Stratton, Anderson-Nielsen; The Geometry Center
    Materials about symmetry and classification of repeating patterns for students in grades 7-10 using wallpaper patterns, to be used as either an introduction or a review: a classroom-ready source of information. A final project created for Math 5337, Technology in the Geometry Classroom, at the Geometry Center, University of Minnesota. more>>

  6. Concurrency Points in a Triangle - Brakalova, Johnson, Scalzitti, Thornberry; The Geometry Center
    An interactive Web-based exploration designed to facilitate the teaching of triangle concurrency, both as an integral part of a geometry curriculum and as enrichment material. These pages can be used by individual students as a computer exploration, as classroom demonstration material, or as an alternative to a more traditional investigation of triangle congruency topics. Includes notes to students and teachers, and instructions for using the Geometer's Sketchpad in the activities. A final project created for Math 5337, Technology in the Geometry Classroom, at the Geometry Center, University of Minnesota. more>>

  7. Does the Number e have Special Meaning? - Spencer, Chan; Univ. of Toronto Mathematics Network
    Answers, explanations, and expositions of the question, Does the number e have any real physical meaning, or is it just a mathematical convenience? Addresses the topics: Simple and Compound Interest; A Physical Meaning for the Number e; The General Situation; The Number e as a Limit; and The Number e in Calculus. more>>

  8. Dominoes Activity - Suzanne Alejandre
    A classroom activity (similar to Pentomino + 1 = Hexomino; a variation on polyominoes) aligned to the NCTM and California Standards, to be explored through manipulatives (paper dominoes). Students explore whether it is possible to cover a 6x5 grid with 15 dominoes, then build a variety of "brick walls" and create a brick wall catalogue. A simple freeware program (Macintosh only) by Kurt Kaufman can be used very easily to model this problem. Links to related pentomino and Fibonacci sites on the Web and a teacher lesson plan are provided. more>>

  9. Dueling Pinwheels - A Geometer's Sketchpad Activity - Cynthia Lanius
    Construction directions for rotations, translation, and reflection, with questions to explore and a demonstration sketch to download. more>>

  10. EggMath - Bradlow, Sullivan, Levy, UIUC
    A collection of modules (including many interactive applets) for K12 classrooms, based on the theme of eggs. Topics include: the shape of an egg (addressing symmetry and cross-section, surfaces of revolution, pin and string construction of ellipses, Cartesian and Cassini Ovals), the White/Yolk Theorem (how any two regions of the plane can be equally divided - a specific case of the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem, with a proof of the Theorem included), spherical geometry, and embryo calculus (exponential growth and the number e). Each module offers interactive Java components and additional references. Part of the Chickscope project at the Beckman Institute. Also available at http://new.math.uiuc.edu/eggmath/. more>>

  11. Euclid's Geometry: History and Practice - Alex Pearson, The Episcopal Academy, Merion, Pennsylvania
    A series of interdisciplinary lessons on Euclid's Elements, researched and written by a Classicist and hosted by the Math Forum. The material is organized into class work, short historical articles, assignments, essay questions, and a quiz. more>>

  12. Ferris Wheel - Jim King, University of Washington
    Physical devices can be modeled using dynamic geometry. A vital tool for moving objects around in the model are the isometries, or distance-preserving transformations. This model of a Ferris wheel provides a good example. A step-by-step description of how to model a Ferris wheel using translations and animation in Sketchpad. more>>

  13. Fractals: Definition & Activities - Suzanne Alejandre
    A Math Forum Web Unit. Includes definitions and descriptions of fractals, links to pages on the Sierpinski triangle, the Koch edge, the Peano curve, the Lorenz attractor, and the Dragon curve; and more links to fractal sites on the Web. more>>

  14. Games on Graphs (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Students use algebraic methods to explore, model, and describe patterns and functions involving numbers, shapes, data, and graphs in problem-solving situations and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems. Graphs, stories and games provide scenarios for games that student can play on graphs. Also Three for the Money: The Degree/Diameter Problem, an unsolved problem for students to work on, and other games that can help students increase the range of possibility for games that they can invent on graphs. Big Ideas and Key Concepts include pages on Graphs; Properties of mathematical objects; Modeling; and Abstraction. more>>

  15. The Golden Ratio - Blacker, Polanski, Schwach; The Geometry Center
    Introduction to the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Sequence. Instead of simply supplying definitions and asking the student to engage in mindless practice, students work through several activities to discover the applications of the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Sequence. With Geometer's Sketchpad activities. A final project created for Math 5337, Technology in the Geometry Classroom, at the Geometry Center, University of Minnesota. more>>

  16. The Hand Squeeze: A Data Collection and Analysis Class Experiment - Cynthia Lanius
    An experiment: measuring the amount of time that it takes for a hand squeeze to pass around a circle. Record, graph, and analyze the data, and make predictions about the time it would take for more people/greater distances. more>>

  17. Hotel Infinity (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Will a hotel with an infinite number of rooms always have a vacancy? Students develop number sense, use numbers and number relationships in problem-solving situations, and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems. Key concepts include Infinity, Transfinite arithmetic, and One-to-one correspondence. more>>

  18. The Hot Tub: Interpreting Graphs - Cynthia Lanius
    Questions to answer about a graph... Notice the connection between the slope of the lines and the rate of change of the water depth. On what segments is the slope positive, and the water depth increasing? negative, and the water depth decreasing? On what segments is the slope 0, and the water depth is constant? more>>

  19. Just a Usual Day at Unusual School (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Students perform a play that takes place in a school where some of the students always lie and the rest always tell the truth. Terry, the protagonist, is trying to find out which students are which, but at the beginning, there is no way of knowing whom to believe. Can you figure out whom to believe in this play? With accompanying lesson plan and discussion questions. more>>

  20. Locker Problem - Suzanne Alejandre
    A classroom activity (also called 1000 Lockers) aligned to the NCTM and California Standards, to be explored through the use of manipulatives and a ClarisWorks spreadsheet. Students then look for patterns and write the answer algebraically. The problem: imagine you are at a school that still has student lockers. There are 1000 lockers, all shut and unlocked, and 1000 students. Suppose the first student goes along the row and opens every other locker. The second student then goes along and shuts every other locker beginning with number 2. The third student changes the state of every third locker beginning with number 3. (If the locker is open the student shuts it, and if the locker is closed the student opens it.) The fourth student changes the state of every fourth locker beginning with number 4. Imagine that this continues until the thousand students have followed the pattern with the thousand lockers. At the end, which lockers will be open and which will be closed? Why? A teacher lesson plan is provided. more>>

  21. Machines That Eat Your Words (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    An introduction to the concept of finite state machines, and how they are used to design computer systems that will recognize patterns. A finite state machine is an imaginary (or abstract) machine that is used to study and design systems that recognize and identify patterns. The idea of a finite state machine is a powerful one that has many applications in computer science. Mathematics as Problem Solving, Mathematics as Communication, Mathematics as Reasoning, and Mathematical Connections are critical items throughout the NCTM Standards. They appear at every level because they form the core of what it means to do mathematics. more>>

  22. Magic Squares: Math, History, Geography - Suzanne Alejandre
    Designed primarily for middle school and older elementary school students, this Math Forum Web unit includes classroom activities for four different squares: Lo Shu, Sator, Dürer, and Franklin, three of them demonstrating increasing complexity using numbers, and one made up of letters, with number and symmetry questions and links and suggestions for history / geography / writing activities for teachers interested in interdisciplinary work. Includes directions for building magic squares, definitions, discussion of some special properties of magic squares, a Java applet, and links to other magic square Web sites. more>>

  23. Magnet/Mathematics Connections: Morse High School - Suzanne Alejandre, for the Math Forum
    Morse High School is the Center for Technology and Pacific Rim Studies. The school magnet focuses on five career paths designed to provide a multifaceted, enriched magnet program: Aeronautics, Engineering, Science, Tourism and Languages. These pages provide Internet lessons to use in mathematics classes in support of the magnet specialized areas, together with general resources for Internet enrichment and suggestions for developing additional lessons. more>>

  24. Mathematics of Cartography - Cynthia Lanius
    A map is a set of points, lines, and areas all defined both by position with reference to a coordinate system and by non-spatial attributes. These pages discuss how maps are used, give examples of different kinds of maps, and cover map history and math topics - lines, points, areas, coordinates, etc., in particular scale, coordinate systems, and projection. Also Problems, Resources, Careers in mapmaking, Teachers' Notes, and References. more>>

  25. The Million $ Mission - Cynthia Lanius
    You have your choice of two payment options on your new job: 1. One cent on the first day, two cents on the second day, and double your salary every day thereafter for the thirty days; or 2. Exactly $1,000,000. (That's one million dollars!) What's the best choice? Includes pages on exponential growth and patterns, links to exponentials on the Web, questions, and teachers notes. more>>

  26. The Most Colorful Math of All (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Coloring is a profound mathematical topic with multi-million-dollar industrial applications. The problem presented here has been of interest to mathematicians for over a hundred years. With a few crayons or markers and some hand-drawn maps, children can quickly find themselves grappling with the four-color map problem. Activities, Background Information, Evaluation. more>>

  27. Mozart's Musikalisches Würfelspiel: A Musical Dice Game for Composing a Minuet - John Chuang
    During his life, Mozart wrote the measures and instructions for a musical composition dice game that cuts and pastes pre-written measures of music together to create a minuet. Compose a minuet online in one of three ways: CGI generates all random numbers, you pick the "random" numbers, or make a fractal with Chris Seidel's Fractal Generator (The Mandelbrot Collaboration). Links to other Mozartian sites and listening to MIDI files. more>>

  28. No Matter What Shape Your Fractions Are In - Cynthia Lanius
    Students explore geometric models of fractions and discover relations among them, reinforcing their knowledge of fractions by using online pattern block activities. The lessons are designed for students to work independently or with guidance from the teacher. Lessons should be printed so students can draw and color the appropriate shapes. Teachers notes are included. more>>

  29. Pascal's Triangle - Math Forum/USI
    A Web unit designed to support workshops given by the Math Forum for the Urban Systemic Initiative (Philadelphia and San Diego). Read about the history of Pascal's triangle and learn to construct it; view illustrations of number patterns to be discovered; carry out interactive investigations in JavaScript or the Geometer's Sketchpad, and explore this famous triangle through lesson plans that feature questions, answers, discussion, and student worksheets. more>>

  30. Rectangle Pattern Challenges - Cynthia Lanius
    Examine different stges of rectangle patterns, and describe what you must do to get from one to the next. Observe the designs looking for patterns. Use the symmetry of the design to help you count. Organize your information into a table. On square grid paper create your own design, showing at least 3 stages. It must have at least two lines of symmetry, and it must follow a regular numerical growth pattern. On a separate sheet of paper, fill in the calculations in a table like the one shown. Teachers notes are included. more>>

  31. River Crossing (Math Exploration Quilt) - Rik Littlefield; Hanford School
    You want to cross a river to reach a point exactly opposite where you are currently standing. Explore this problem step-by-step, encountering the following basic ideas: 1) Pythagorean theorem; 2) time = distance / speed; 3) distance = time * speed; 4) sums and differences of distances; and 5) the arcsine function for right triangles (which we didn't really need to solve the problem, just to get the angle expressed in a familiar way). more>>

  32. Stressed Out: Slope as Rate of Change - Cynthia Lanius
    It's the night of the big game. You're in the locker room. The coach is pumping the team up. "Now, I know you people are nervous. That's okay, in fact, that's what we want. You're going to perform better on the court (stage) if you're a little nervous." Does the graph shown confirm what the coach told you? Write a statement that describes performance as stress increases... This lesson introduces basic knowledge and skills important to a study of functions in algebra and lays the groundwork for calculus. more>>

  33. Studying Polyhedra - Suzanne Alejandre
    What is a polyhedron? A definition and a Java applet to help in exploring the five regular polyhedra to find how many faces and vertices each has, and what polygons make up the faces. Also links to a page of information about buckyballs, stories written by students after studying polyhedra, other sites with information about regular polyhedra, and other sites with information about Greece and Greek mathematicians. more>>

  34. Tessellation Tutorials - Suzanne Alejandre
    A series of tutorials that teach students how to tessellate (somewhat in the style of the art of M.C. Escher) using HyperCard for black and white and/or HyperStudio for color, ClarisWorks, LogoWriter, templates, or simple straightedge and compass. The tessellation lessons include units incorporating rotations and glide reflections, a section called "Where's the Math" that elaborates on some underlying geometric principles, comments contributed by others, and samples of student work. See, in particular, What Is a Tessellation? more>>

  35. Three for the Money: The Degree/Diameter Problem (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Students can understand and work on an unsolved problem in mathematics. There is a good chance that this problem can be solved by someone who spends enough time experimenting with it. The only skills required to work on it are the ability to draw dots and connect them with lines, and the understanding of four ideas related to graphs: degree, diameter, planarity, and size. With ideas for discussion. more>>

  36. Traffic Jam Activity - Suzanne Alejandre
    A classroom activity (also called Hop, Skip, Jump) aligned to the NCTM and California Standards, to be explored through large movement experience, manipulatives, and an interactive Java applet. Students then revisit the activity, look for patterns, and write the answer algebraically. The activity: there are seven stepping stones and six people. On the three lefthand stones, facing the center, stand three of the people. The other three people stand on the three righthand stones, also facing the center. The center stone is not occupied. Everyone must move so that the people originally standing on the righthand stepping stones are on the lefthand stones, and those originally standing on the lefthand stepping stones are on the righthand stones, with the center stone again unoccupied. A teacher lesson plan is provided. more>>

  37. The Twelve Days of Christmas and Pascal's Triangle - Judy Brown, DIMACS and The Math Forum
    A lesson in which, using Pascal's triangle, students find the number of items given each day in the song, "The 12 Days of Christmas." more>>

  38. The Twelve Days of Christmas - Judy Brown, DIMACS and The Math Forum
    A lesson in which students find the number of items given each day in the song, "The 12 Days of Christmas." This project is designed to be used as a warmup activity during the 12 days preceding Christmas. more>>

  39. UBUYACAR - Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction
    An online problem-based learning manual for students that poses the question: "You are interested in purchasing a new vehicle. What should your annual salary be to afford the car you want?" Students move through a problem-solving process. A Tutor's Manual coaches the teacher in his or her role as facilitator. The manuals are also available in PDF format. Part of Maricopa Community College's Problem Based Learning (PBL) site. more>>

  40. Untangling the Mathematics of Knots (MegaMath) - Nancy Casey; Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Fundamentals of knot theory for a wide range of levels - a variety of activities for exploring knots made from pieces of rope. Students can make and verify observations about knots, classify them, combine them, and find ways to determine if two knots are alike. The activities outlined here can be combined to form a single lesson about mathematical knots, or a larger investigative unit that extends over a longer period of time. Key concepts include knot theory, topology, operations, and proof. more>>


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