Q&A #1921

Mathematics and laptops

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Aug 27, 1999 at 00:38:35
Subject: Re: Mathematics and laptops

Dear Dufeu,

What a wonderful opportunity!

Jenny gave me such a nice introduction that I couldn't resist providing a
few details that I thought you might find helpful.

I think you might be referring to the Glencoe _Mathematics, Applications and
Connections_ (MAC) text but just in case you might also have the Interactive
Mathematics book by Glencoe I thought I would point out this work in
progress that I have been writing this summer and will continue revising as
our seventh grade teachers (including me) use it this school year. You can
see my year of plans here:


I would like to suggest something that I have developed the last three years
and that is the idea of combining a manipulative approach to a mathematical
topic and a technological approach to a mathematical topic and then a paper/
pencil (formalization) approach to a mathematical topic.

It is important to build a bridge between the technology representing a
problem and the actual physical representation. Visiting a problem using
both techniques addresses a variety of learning styles, brings the abstract
into the concrete, and offers interaction with the computer as students
investigate, discover, form hypotheses, draw conclusions, and benefit from
the quick feedback and the interest a computer provides. Once students have
had these experiences it is important to arrive at a synthesis by spending
the time necessary to internalize the concepts.  Manipulatives can provide
space for group work, computers can afford individual explorations, and the
synthesis can take place during a full-class discussion. Students can then
demonstrate their individual understandings through the writing process.

Here are a few of my lessons that use that idea:

Traffic Jam Activity

Tangram Activity (not as developed but with possibilities)

Locker Problem Activity

Finding Sums Activity

Practicing Arithmetic Skills

These activities are more hands-on but the web resources listed would be
great for students to explore if they all had laptops!

Leonardo da Vinci Problem

This was a collaborative activity between three schools:




Then another idea that I have used is to make good use of the Ask Dr. Math
Archives to introduce a mathematical topic or reinforce or revisit. You can
see examples here:





There are other resources on the web also. Cynthia Lanius has written some
great interactive pages that I think you might find interesting:


Last but not least I would highly recommend the POWs!


Have great fun and please write and let us know what you use and how it
works and any other details!

 -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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