The Math Forum

EAA Math Grant Projects: Technology Components
Lab Session, February 16, 2000
Shelly Berman, Judy Ann Brown & Annie Fetter

Math Forum || Student Center || Teachers' Place

Goals for today's session include:
  1. presenting an overview of the Math Forum services that are of special interest to teachers;
  2. imagining instructional uses of the Math Forum services; and
  3. discussing search strategies for specific purposes.

Table of Contents
The Math Forum Web Units and Lessons
Teachers' Place Ask Dr. Math
Problems of the Week Math Resources by Subject
Internet Mathematics Library Math Forum Searches
Forum Showcase Math Forum Internet Newsletter

The Math Forum -
An online community of teachers, students, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels who have an interest in math and math education.

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Teachers' Place -
Here you'll find what we consider to be the best resources for teaching math at all levels. This space is not only for teachers, but has also been built in part by teachers.

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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 verbalize their solutions. There are Elementary, Middle School, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry & Calculus, and Discrete Mathematics Problems of the Week. The Problem of the week is a mentored environment in which students submit solutions to a math challenge. Each submission is responded to by a mentor, and students are encouraged to strengthen their solutions.

This middle school example, Example #1, gives a sense of a problem and shows a number of approaches to solving it.

Sometimes, we get outstanding work by budding mathematicians, such as Devin Duncan's response to Example #2 in the geometry Problem of the Week.

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Internet Mathematics Library -
The Library allows you to browse through a gold mine of archives, looking through the lenses of Mathematics Topics, Resource Types, Mathematics Education Topics or Educational Level.

We can go to the Reference Sources of the Resources Types. Note that this really immerses us in the sea of information that the Web represents.

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Web Units and Lessons -
The Math Forum is committed to being a resource built upon the activity of the teachers, students, and researchers who use it.

As an example, we have selected the exemplary "Tessellation Tutorials" created by Suzanne Alejandre.

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Ask Dr. Math -
Ask Dr. Math is an ask-an-expert service in which math questions at all levels are asked of our volunteer doctors. A searchable archive is available by level and topic, together with a FAQ and Classic Problems section.

While some questions get a straight-forward answer that satisfies the questioner, other questions initiate dialogs as the questioner and doctor communicate via the Internet. In these two examples, Angie and Dr. Teeple explore how to solve a word problem, and Sam, stimulated by a biblical reference, discusses rounding pi with Dr. Peterson.

When someone has a math question, we suggest first looking through the FAQs and archives for an answer, as s/he will get an immediate answer. Think of a question you or one of your students might ask, and record it for yourself. Check the FAQ or search the archives to see if your question is there.

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Math Resources by Subject -
This service contains recommended resources by subject for: Each subject addresses these issues: You might want to look around and explore a subject of your choice.

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Math Forum Searches -
We have over 300,000 pages, so this is quite an extensive search arena. You may also search a specific area, which may give you a more focused, and in the case of the discussion groups, a more thorough search.

Pick a topic you're curious about and see what comes back from the search.

As you search for resources through the Math Forum, you'll want to learn a number of ways to become more efficient. The first is to read some of the tips and tricks provided from the Forum's main search page. The second is to be as specific as possible about what you want. It's probably not a good idea to search for "triangles", but searching for "congruent triangles" or "triangle angles" might produce more useful and appropriate returns.

The other thing to think about when searching the Forum is that the results of your search are grouped by the different services that the Forum offers. A search page often starts with results from the Internet Math Library, then choices from Ask Dr. Math, Teacher2Teacher, the Problems of the Week, etc. In choosing where to start, you should recognize that the different services represent different types of resources. For example, if you're looking for a good explanation of Heron's Formula, you might go to Ask Dr. Math because items contained there are responses to students' questions about math and are generally written for the student audience. If you're looking for a lesson plan, however, you might want to pick something from the Internet Math Library or the Forum Web Units. For ideas on how to teach a particular concept, you might choose the Teacher2Teacher area. By being conscious of the voices of these different services, you're more likely to find the type of resource for which you're searching.

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Forum Showcase -
Just as its title suggests, this is a changing gallery of exemplary materials created by people in the extended Math Forum community.

An example is the set of pages developed around Exploring Data for use with teacher workshops in Philadelphia and San Diego.

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Math Forum Internet Newsletter -
An electronic newsletter is sent out via e-mail once a week to those who subscribe, and is archived on the Web and as a Web discussion. It offers site tips (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 the Math Forum's interactive math projects (Ask Dr. Math, Problems of the Week), suggestions for K-12 teachers and students, and pointers to key issues in mathematics and math education.

You might want to browse through an issue or two. You are welcome to subscribe to the newsletter as one immediate way to join the community.

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