Your Personal Portal to Mathematics on the Internet
A Self-Guided Tour for Educators

About the Math Forum

This tour presents an overview of the Math Forum's features
and services that are of special interest to teachers and teacher educators.

Table of Contents
 The Math Forum Home Page Searches on the Math Forum 
 Problems of the Week Teacher Exchange 
 Internet Mathematics Library Math Forum Internet News 
 Ask Dr. Math Forum Showcase & Special Projects 
 Teacher2Teacher Discussion Groups 
 Join Us As a Contributor  

   The Math Forum Home Page -
The Math Forum is an online community of teachers, students, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels who have an interest in mathematics and math education. The Math Forum has been consistently recognized as the leader in its field, and continues to provide high quality content and useful features, attracting about 4 million pageviews each month.

The home page offers easy access to all of the Math Forum services, with specific entry points provided to aid navigation for the novice, such as the Student Center and Teachers' Place. There are also links to 'What's New' on the site, a Search for Math on the Internet, and more.

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   Problems of the Week -
The Problems of the Week are designed to challenge students with non-routine problems, and to encourage them to explain their solutions. There are four Problems of the Week (PoWs): Math Fundamentals, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry. This year we have been trying new ideas with our service. Check The Current Status of the Problems of the Week for detailed information.

The Problems of the Week Library is a searchable archive of over 1,100 problems, each with the administrator's comments and highlighted solutions. Current or archived problems can be integrated into teachers' courses in a variety of ways - as an introductory or summary activity, as enrichment, to encourage team work or written communications, to allow the teacher unique access to student thinking, to allow students to mentor other students, and more.

The Problems of the Week have evolved to include important and useful features:

  • there is now a Library of Problems of the Week that organizes the archive of each of the six services for browsing by mathematics topics appropriate to that PoW, rates problems for difficulty level, and provides for searching by selected keywords or doing a full text word search.
    You may also choose to browse an alphabetical listing from the Library page, or browse past problems by date from the individual PoW page.
    You can get a more complete description by reading the "About the PoW Library" page.

  • by using the "Print This Problem" link just above the title, any current or past problem can be printed with a simple "Math Forum Problem of the Week" header; this allows problems to be used without indicating a course or grade level;

  • teachers are invited to read through and contribute to a pow-teach discussion with comments about the instructional uses of the Problems of the Week, or ideas about specific problems and relevant mathematics.

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   Internet Mathematics Library -
The Math Forum continues to collect, organize, catalog and annotate thousands of math related web sites from diverse sources to create its Internet Mathematics Library. You can search or browse through over 10,000 items in the collection, organized under the headings of Mathematics Topics, Resource Types, Mathematics Education Topics or Educational Level. "Drilling down" from a heading takes you to a set of categories, then to a page showing subcategories, selected sites, and all sites in the category.

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   Ask Dr. Math -
Ask Dr. Math is an ask-an-expert service in which anyone in the world can pose a math question at any level. A cadre of volunteer 'doctors' select and respond to problems of interest. In addition to an archive of over 5,000 questions and answers that is searchable by level and topic, there is:
  • a page of nearly 50 Frequently Asked Questions includes items about multiplying a negative by a negative, permutations and combinations, the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal's Triangle, and more;

  • a Classic Problems page, including such favorites as: "two trains leave from different cities ..."; "if one child in a two child family is a boy, what is the likelihood that the other child is a girl?"; "how large must a group be so that the chance of at least two people having the same birthday is ..."; etc.;

  • a Formulas page, which shows formulas for area, perimeter, and volume of a variety of figures, the connections between coordinate systems, and more.

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   Teacher2Teacher -
Teacher2Teacher, like a virtual teacher's lounge, is an environment in which questions are asked and opinions are shared about topics across the broad spectrum of interest to teachers, including classroom techniques, activities, resources, professional development, etc. The archive contains over 500 questions and their related discussion threads. Initial responses are provided by master teachers, including Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching, and many questions stimulate a host of responses as issues are explored and opinions expressed.

A frequently asked question, like "what role can manipulatives play in teaching mathematics", can generate much discussion, as found on this FAQ page.

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   Math Forum Searches -
We have over 2,000,000 pages of content, so this is quite an extensive search field. Given that ours is a full text searcher, you may want to focus a search in a specific area, or use the "that exact phase" and "complete words only" options.

Efficient searching is an art. You may find our Searching Tips and Tricks page helpful, and our Search Features page offers even more detail about such items as the "Starting Points" that are generated for many keywords and topics, and the automatic spell correction, which is often helpful. These features are the result of human efforts to make the search environment more user-friendly. We invite you to contact the
to clarify any unresolved confusion or questions.

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   Teacher Exchange -
The Math Forum is committed to building upon the activity of the teachers, students, and researchers who use it. The Forum provides a platform and the opportunity to share excellent resources and materials with colleagues world wide.

For example, we are pleased to highlight the outstanding work of Suzanne Alejandre, including lessons and activities targeted mostly at the middle school level.

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   Math Forum Internet Newsletter -
Our electronic newsletter is sent out via e-mail once a week to those who subscribe, and is archived on our site. It offers tips about what we have at the Math Forum and how to find it, notes about new items on the site or on the Internet, questions and answers from services like Ask Dr. Math or the Problems of the Week, suggestions for K-12 teachers and students, and pointers to key issues in mathematics and math education.

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   Forum Showcase and Special Projects -
Just as its title suggests, this is a changing gallery of noteworthy materials created by people in the extended Math Forum community. An example is the set of pages developed around Famous Problems in the History of Mathematics by Swarthmore student Issac Reed.

The Math Forum is also engaged in educational research projects. An example of this work is the Bridging Research and Practice (BRAP) Project. The work of teachers focused on encouraging students' mathematical thinking is highlighted in this online videopaper. There is also an online discussion that uses this videopaper as a conversation starter. There are links to this discussion page from the videopaper.

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   Discussion Groups, Special Discussion Projects -
The Math Forum's discussion archives include mathematics and math education-related newsgroups, mailing lists, and Web-based discussions (e.g., pow-teach as described above, as well as math-teach, numeracy, geometry-pre-college, k12.ed.math, etc.). Many discussion sites are very active, like sci.math, which had about 900 threads posted in September, 2000 alone.

Pick a group or two and follow some threads of conversation.

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   Join Us As a Contributor -
There are many ways to contribute to the Math Forum community. Beyond using the various services we provide, many people subscribe to the newsletter, participate in T2T and other discussions, and make suggestions, such as alerting us to other good materials and websites they have discovered. Others find satisfaction in sharing their content as web units or lessons, or showcasing their students' work. Many people voluteer their time and efforts to respond to T2T or Ask Dr. Math questions, while others act as mentors for one of the Problems of the Week.

In what ever ways this might work best for you, please know that you are always welcomed and invited to interact with us in our on-line math ed community center.

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