The MATH FORUM: Your Personal Portal
to Mathematics Resources on the Internet

Philadelphia USP Middle Grades Small Learning Community Teacher Leaders
February 10, 2001

Shelly Berman & Suzanne Alejandre

About The Math Forum

The goal for this presentation is to give an introductory overview of selected Math Forum features, services, and resources.

   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.
   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 six Problems of the Week (PoWs): Elementary, Middle School, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry & Calculus, and Discrete Mathematics. Each PoW is a mentored environment -- i.e., every student submission is responded to by a mentor, and students are encouraged to strengthen their solutions.

There is a searchable archive of over 700 problems, each with the administrators 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. See the pow-teach discussion for more ideas.

The Problems of the Week have evolved to include additional useful features:
  • 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 can request accounts that can be sorted by class and alphabet, and that track each student's last posting date, and the number of correct, bonus and total submissions; to apply, follow the "Teacher Account" link for a particular PoW from the Teacher Information page; here is a sample account page;
  • teachers are invited to read through and contribute to a pow-teach discussion, which has been established to facilitate conversation about general issues concerning the instructional use of the Problems of the Week, as well as ideas related to specific problems.
   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 7,000 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.
   Suzanne's Mathematics Lessons -
Middle School Web units with activities and procedures for teaching on topics from algebraic factoring to tessellations. Some units include software links, standards connections, and interdisciplinary ideas. Some units are interactive Web units, and the site includes links to Web units created by others.
   Math Forum Searches -
We have over 300,000 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 us to clarify any unresolved confusion or questions.

In addition to searching from the Math Forum site, you might want to use other search engines, such as Ask Jeeves, DogPile, or Google.

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