July 25 - August 11, 2000 - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Participants' Comments about ESCOT PoWs
Matt: Scale and Bowl reinforces the relationships between fractions and decimals. I Iiked that you could see the changes in the fraction as you changed the numbers.
Shirley: I think the kids would like these kinds of problems because they like video games. Personally I wasn't stimulated.
Jo: I love Search and Rescue. It's so visual and really teaches kids.
Jeanne: I would use S&R in AlgII/Pre-Calc class. It's a nice jump off for teaching vectors.
Dave: In the future, I would like to see some problems with equations and basic integers. Also ratio/proportion.
Jeanne: I would also like to see probability as a topic. It is part of the Standards and teachers need more ideas/resources for teaching this. Most of the activities available are at lower or higher levels than what I and other secondary teachers need. Many activities include dice and cards, which are not appropriate in some schools because of people's religious beliefs. She wants more varied approaches.
Jo: Key Curriculum has a probability and statistics book that uses graphing calculator activities. It would be great to have simulation models to go with them. For example, there are probability problems centered on the likelihood of people getting on and off elevators under certain circumstances, which could be visually modeled.
Suzanne: Which concepts are difficult to visualize? These would be important for the ESCOT PoW to address. What about a problem that combines Algebra and Geometry. For example, the question could be focused on a graphic image that shows a spatial relationship, and the students must represent it symbolically.
Jeanne: Like area, volume, ...
Matt: Or scale factor, changing triangles, ...
Jody: Is there any feedback on specific problem sets?
Danielle: The size of the text is too small. For the earthquake problem, the gray line that represents time passing gets lost in the gray grid of the coordinate plane, because of the color. For the llama problem, the blue and yellow representations parts of the fence on the description page are confusing. In the Sketchpad parts of the problem, the question mark was confusing because it looked like it might be interactive.
Group: Yes, it looked like a link.
Shelly: The earthquake thing made more sense to me by the time I got to the third problem. It was a great way to represent that the greater the distance, the greater the time difference. In the figure in the first activity it was unclear why rate was fixed but I could manipulate the parameters of time and distance. An explanation in a teacher page would have helped make things clearer through the problem.
Dave: Be careful. You don't want to give too much away to middle school students.
Jody: Suzanne wants to write teacher pages to help clarify the questions. They could also give background for the math and or content.
Jeanne: ESL kids get stuck on interpreting language. If a house can be 3, 7 or 10 miles away, it doesn't mean that the house is moving.
Suzanne: Middle school students with lower reading achievement have trouble too. Nathalie and I are thinking of making support pages that could include video clips, etc to help.
Shelly: I would like the program to keep a trail of data you have already tried. Keeping a record could be very helpful. The llama had a slider to show the change in scale. This would be helpful in the decimal/fraction problem.
Suzanne: The teacher can teach kids to take their own notes. They can be responsible for their "trail". Including this in the program would slow it down and perhaps make the screen confusing.
Jeanne: The best learning for me is when I have to struggle a little to understand. I need some challenge to keep going. As for the "slider", I prefer the idea of students entering different numbers that they choose so that they can see that 1.75 is less than 1.8. The slider won't give them the "pause" to think about this.
Suzanne: Agree, it may be better not to put "too" much on the page.
Jody: Future steps: Would you be interested testing problems on browsers with an honorarium? Would you be interested in using them in the classroom? (Dave and Danielle both showed interest in using them in class.)
Jody: They should be ready to run on other browsers in October.
Susan who is now participating online offered the following comments:
What are some strengths and weaknesses of the EPoWs?
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