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Topic: Traffic Jam Activity

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Subject:   RE: Traffic Jam: tool ideas
Author: SteveW
Date: Aug 3 2004
Notes from our group discussion:

4. What tools could one provide to explore but also support the math? (data
recording, pattern analysis, ...). What favorite tools might you use?

Do we enable a sort of record keeping? What do we define that we need to keep
track of?

 We got confused about the direction in which things were moving - sound could
help identify the direction as well as with pattern recognition. (How did anyone
solve that problem?) One group put the color of the person on the end to keep
track. "We had Geri. She kept us organized."

 If you make the sounds different, you may lose some of the symmetry. Maybe have
sound as an option.

 Color, sound, position number, are all good specifications for a "player."

 We used a number line to help us know where the players were. It helped us keep
track and we could see the symmetry. Go forward or jump but no backwards. David
K showed the graph that resulted.

Have an "undo" capability.

 Have a "replay" capability (We had a tool, Evan, who did that very well.)

 Concern with building in all these features, it's steering students' thinking.
If we through too much into our tools then we are controlling it too much. Using
the concrete manipulative made it a richer problem.

 For some kids, there is too much and you want to allow some of the

 One idea is to start with the concrete manipulative and then explore further
with the virtual manipulative.

 What's my development time? (other questions - take into consideration)

 What's the bookkeeping that you want to have available?

 Depending on the age of the students, the tool would have different features
(spiral curriculum)

 Outside the classroom, having a variety of features.

 Consider assessment that would be a follow up to using this tool.

 Question: How do you take the tools that are available to everyone that can be
adapted to use with this type of problem? (Worry about creating such a specific

 If this problem is sufficiently rich, it "might" be worth it.

 When you develop such tools, sometimes the work done to develop it can be
applied to other tools. (How far you need to go in each direction depends on the
universal value in the end.)

 Value would be to discuss how teachers could use the tools we already have to
support this problem solving.

 It's nice to have multiple technologies for a problem because resources are
varied depending on the teacher/classroom.

 What's the objective for this problem?

 Some of them are difficult to assess.

 Develop a metatool (choose from it to get the specific tool needed)

 Teachers see the benefit of this but when they go back to teach the lesson,
they don't see the objective - see the "end product" for the tool - then you can
substitute the tool/lesson so that it is a replacement lesson.

 Cut The Knot

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