Discussion:  The Hispaniola Water Shortage tool 
Topic:  Good math lesson, applet could use some work 
Related Item:  http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/72/ 
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Subject:  RE: Good math lesson, applet could use some work 
Author:  Suzanne Alejandre 
Date:  Feb 4 2004 
The Hispaniola Water Shortage problem
http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool.html?id=72
was one of the Problems of the Week featured in the ESCOT (Educational Software
Components of Tomorrow) grant project that the Math Forum was involved in a few
years ago. During 19992000 I was still a classroom teacher in California and
I used ESCOTPoWs with my 7th graders. Then in 20002001 I had moved to PA and
joined the Math Forum staff and I was on the other side of the project. One of
the things that we didn't do as part of that project was to revisit the applets
or PoWs (math prompts) to edit them in order to have any revised versions.
I find your comments about the functionality of this applet interesting. If you
are interested in revising it, let me know and I'll find a way to send you the
code.
On the tool page, there is a link to the Teacher Support page that was written
to give middle school teachers some ideas for resources and activities to use
with their students. For those of you interested in viewing the full list of
ESCOTPoWs with links to accompanying pages, they are listed here:
http://mathforum.org/escot/teacher.nctm.html
One thing interesting to keep in mind as you read through the discussion posts
by Susan and her students is that her students are actually high school level.
When we designed this applet/problem, we designed it for middle school students.
I think it's interesting to compare comments made by students who interact with
a problem but perhaps have a stronger background in mathematics to students who
are just grasping some of the mathematical concepts. The question in my mind is,
at what point will the interactivity get in the way? I guess it's similar to
using algebra tiles (concrete or virtual manipulatives). Are algebra tiles
always useful? If no, at what point are they not useful? If yes, what do they
bring to the problem solving that you might not otherwise have?
Suzanne
 
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