The Math Forum @ Drexel tPoW: Using Technology to Help Students Solve Problems

CMC-South, November 5, 2005
Suzanne Alejandre, the Math Forum @ Drexel

What is a tPoW?
Technology Problems of the Week (tPoWs) are problem-solving challenges modeled on our Problems of the Week that take advantage of interactive mathematics tools such as Java applets, Geometer's Sketchpad, Fathom, or spreadsheets. Students are invited to use the link "Submit your answer" to share their solutions, and then "self-mentor" using specially designed hints, checks, and suggestions for extensions.
Let's Do Math!
Balloon Booths || submission
Galactic Exchange II || submission
Types of Triangles || submission
Scoring Rubric [download in PDF format]
Good problem solving and strong mathematical communication are both important aspects of a tPoW solution. Solutions should include enough information to help another student understand the steps and the decisions that were made in solving the problem.
Complete List of Current tPoWs
Each of these links takes you to the information page in Math Tools and from there you can go to the tPoW itself. Both English and Spanish versions are available.
A Million Penny Project || El Proyecto de un Millón de Centavos
Students use a spreadsheet to show when they will have collected their million pennies.
Balloon Booths || Puesto de Globos
Scale the size of a hot air balloon so you can make it fit through a narrow passage and hit a nail to pop it.
Counterfeit Coins || Monedas Falsas
Find the fewest number of weighings that will identify which of the nine coins is counterfeit.
Galactic Exchange II || Intercambio Galáctico II
By using the vending machine to buy food, determine the relative values of the coins.
How Many Cubes? || ¿Cuántos Cubos?
Given the front view and side view of some cubes, students are asked what the larget number of cubes can be used to make the arrangement and what the smallest number of cubes would be
Mauna Loa || Mauna Loa
Using the monthly measurement data for 1975 through 1988 from Mauna Loa, predict the CO2 level for your birthday in the current year.
Miranda and the Rookie || Miranda y el Principiante
Use a spreadsheet to compare salaries of the star basketball player and the rookie.
Runners || Corredor
Tell how a runner's step size predicts the time it takes to run from the building to the tree.
Squares in a Square || Cuadros en un Cuadro
If you have a checkerboard that is 50x50 with small squares inside it, how many squares will there be all together?
Traffic Jam || Tráfico Apretado
Find the fewest number of moves for the ten people to end up on the opposite side from where they started.
Types of Triangles || Tipos de Triángulos
Students use a GSP sketch or an interactive web page to drag and manipulate four triangles. They identify one of each type: scalene, isosceles, equilateral, and right.
Register for Math Tools
Math Tools is a community library of technology tools, lessons, activities, and support materials for teaching and learning mathematics. It's free to register and it's one way to continue having conversations with others using tPoWs with their students.

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