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  MATH TOOLS NEWSLETTER - MAY 12, 2009 - No. 75

For teachers of students in grades 3-5, we offer
our online community-facilitated workshop:
  Tools for Building Math Concepts

The $50 workshop fee includes $25 for a CEU and 
a $25 credit toward one of our online PD courses.

For teachers of students in grades 5-9, we offer
online workshops:

  Technology and Algebraic Reasoning

  Tools for Thinking about Probability

The $100 workshop fee for these two workshops is 
currently covered by a grant from the National Science 
Foundation. For a fee of $25 to cover administrative costs,
1.5 Continuing Education Units (15 contact hours) can
be provided.

Is "variable" confusing to students?
Susan asks, "Should we call the x in the second case an
'unknown' and not a variable?"

mental arithmetics
asdfljkqewf wonders, "Can someone recommend a software to
train / do mental arithemetic in a whole class situation
(middle school level)?"

Does step size really equal speed?
br adds to an ongoing discussion, "I think you made a valid
point in recognizing the use of vocabulary. Using the term
'slope' to describe their speed would 'gloss over' students.
Using the words 'rate of change' might help."

Tool: A Plethora of Polyhedra
Humberto Jose Bortolossi
This is a free JAVA applet that helps users to study
spatial geometry in a dynamic and interactive way. Using it,
the user can rotate, zoom out, zoom in and translate a
plethora of polyhedra. Moreover, the program is able to
compute topological and geometrical duals of each polyhedron.
Geometrical operations include unfolding, plane sections,
truncation and stellation.

Tool: Functions: How b depends on a
Dirce Uesu Pesco and Humberto Jose Bortolossi
This game explores functions in a different way: a and
b = f(a) are drawn in a unique numerical line. When the user
changes a, b = f(a) changes following a rule. The objective
of the game is to discover this rule!

Tool: Triangle Classification Game
Humberto Jose Bortolossi
In this activity the interactivity attempts to train the
user in the classification of triangles with respect to
sides and internal angles. The user should move the
vertices of a triangle on a square grid in order to build
the triangle which is required for each challenge. The
environment integrates geometry and algebra, prompting many
interesting questions. The final challenge asks if it is
possible to build an equilateral triangle on a square grid.

Tool: The Game of Marienbad
Barbara Kaskosz
A version of the game of Nim, as played in the film "Last
Year at Marienbad." You and the computer take turns removing
as many cards as you like from one row at a time; the player
who takes the last card loses.

Tool: Families of Parametric Curves, Parametric Art
Barbara Kaskosz
You can create beautiful images using families of parametric 
curves. This little application has two parts: "A Gallery," 
where the families are pre-defined, and "Choose a Family," 
where you can enter an arbitrary family of parametric curves 
and ranges for parameters, and see the images that result. 
You can then build your own gallery.


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     The Math Forum @ Drexel -- 12 May 2009