Discussion:  Roundtable 
Topic:  Topic 2  Improvements Needed 
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Subject:  classroom materials to go w/ applets 
Author:  Suzanne 
Date:  Apr 18 2003 

Again, most teachers don't have time to create the classroom materials to go
with the applets that are on the web.

I think this comment that you made last month is one that we were thinking about
as we started developing the cataloguing structure for Math Tools. Our idea is
that with time each tool that is listed in the library will have links to the
various resources that go with it. For example, if you view this catalog page of
the Traffic Jam Applet:
http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool.html?co=m7&new_id=10
You'll see that under "Resources" there are links to a Lesson Plan, an Activity,
and a Support page that I wrote when I was teaching 7th grade mathematics. I'm
thinking that as teachers use this applet, they may have a lesson plan or
activity idea for a different "course." They might submit them to Math Tools in
that format or they might prefer to write a "story" (more anecdotal and less
formal) and we'll link to those from the tool as well.
Does this plan sound like it would help? I'm curious to know what you find most
useful as far as classroom materials to go with applets. You mentioned Evan
Glazer's site as an example and you also mentioned guiding questions. If you
were to have your ideal set of classroom materials, what would they look
like?
When I wrote the Lesson Plan for the Traffic Jam Applet:
http://mathforum.org/alejandre/frisbie/jam.html
I was particularly interested in saving my thinking about expressing the minimum
number of moves as an algebraic expression. [I used the Web at that time as my
virtual filing cabinet!] At the same time it turned out that others found it
helpful to see how a "game" could be taken one step further.
This activity was also the basis of one of the first ONMath articles:
http://my.nctm.org/eresources/view_article.asp?article_id=2072
I've received quite a bit of feedback from it and one question that I've heard
several times is why did I only have my students generalize algebraically? They
go on to describe how they would use such an applet.
Now that we have started Math Tools, I think the response that I receive about
the Traffic Jam lesson would be a very good starting point to gather various
stories about how this applet can be used to formalize a variety of mathematical
ideas.
Suzanne
 
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