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Topic: Demise of Green Globs


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Subject:   RE: Demise of Green Globs
Author: ihor
Date: Jul 28 2005
David wrote:

>  I'm still left wondering though ... and
> I am most definitely not knocking the fine effort put into that
> program, just wondering about comparative results.  What grade and
> level is it aimed at?

It was designed for high school. I use it at the middle school level and have
also seen 5th graders learn about ordered pairs and how you would you use
mathematical language to describe a set of ordered pairs where one of the
coordinates is always the same.

>What does the program do that another, like
> Graphmatica, free for those who can admittedly not afford to
> register, will not?

Graphmatica is much more powerful than the tool component of Graphing Equations
and Green Globs, but what Graphmatica lacks that makes Green Globs so special is
the game context. Once you learn some basics about graphing equations students
are then given a challenge that they find interesting.

> I appears to me that there needs to be a
> foreknowledge before playing the game, and that the foreknowledge is
> the ultimate goal.  That can be reached with the other academic
> aspects of the program, as it is using Graphmatica for example.  How
> does it differ in that sense?  

The game motivates them to continue learning the mathematics because they want
to succeed in the game. Most software is not designed that way. It's usually
based on external rewards that are extrinsic to the goal of learning math.
Obviously math can be learned with many different kinds of incentives. I find
that Globs is one of the few math programs that considers context as critical to
effective learning.

>I have a feeling from my own teaching
> background that, although it's great for those who have gained any
> insight already through the academic study, those who get frustrated
> with the mathematics might not gain with random application, but
> perhaps experience more frustration.  

Math is not easy. Most kids don't learn it very well. Even fewer are really
interested in it. I like creating activities that encourage interest as well as
give students mathematical insights.

>I'll take another look.

If you approach it more in the spirit mathematical play I think you will see how
it could benefit students. Again, Im not suggesting this is the only way to go;
plenty of people have learned math the old-fashioned way. There is nothing
wrong with that. That's the way I learned it. But I didnt get excited about it
until I saw it in more interesting contexts. That's why Globs is one of my
favorites.

-Ihor

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