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Math Forum || Teachers' Place

The goal for this tour is to present an overview of the Math Forum and its services that are of special interest to teachers.

Table of Contents
The Math Forum Home Page
Web Units and Lessons
Internet Mathematics Library
Teachers' Place
Forum Showcase and Special Projects
Math Resources by Subject
Searches on the Math Forum

Problems of the Week
Ask Dr. Math
Math Forum Internet News
Discussion Groups

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 math and math education. The home page features 'What's New' on the site, and offers easy access to all of the Math Forum features and services.
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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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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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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 Symmetry and Pattern: The Art of Oriental Carpets, a joint project of The Math Forum and The Textile Museum in Washington, DC.
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Internet Mathematics Library -
The Math Forum has collected, organized, cataloged, and annotated thousands of math related web sites from diverse sources to create its Internet Mathematics Library. You can browse or search this gold mine of mathematics, organized under the headings of Mathematics Topics, Resource Types, Mathematics Education Topics, or Educational Level. Clicking on any of these headings yields a hierarchical outline. Clicking on a category in the outline takes you to a page showing subcategories, selected sites, and all sites in the category. This format is consistent as you 'drill down'.

For example, drilling down from Math Topics to Algebra to Basic Algebra will yield hundreds of resources to consider while planning your delivery of algebra for all.

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Math Resources by Subject -
This service contains recommended resources by subject for:
  • K-12 students (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Probability & Statistics, Discrete Math);
  • College students (Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Probability & Statistics, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Modern Algebra, Analysis);
  • Advanced level (Modern Algebra, Analysis, Discrete Math, Geometry, Numerical Analysis, Differential Equations, Game Theory & Programming).
Each subject addresses these issues:
  • Classroom materials for teachers and students, including lesson plans, activities, and interactive resources.
  • Publicly available software and publishers online.
  • Internet projects
  • Public forums for discussing the subject.
You might want to look around and explore a subject of your choice.
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Searches on the Math Forum -
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 triangle" or "triangle angle" is more likely to produce more useful and appropriate returns. Leaving off the final 's' will usually get more 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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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.

Here is an elementary problem in which students are asked to solve a somewhat sophisticated word problem. The solutions illustrate good mathematical approaches and clear explanations.

This middle school example shows a typical problem and a number of approaches to solving it.

Sometimes, we get outstanding work by budding mathematicians, such as Devin Duncan's response to a Geometry Problem of the Week.

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Teacher2Teacher -
Teacher2Teacher is like a virtual teacher's lounge in that people pose questions and share opinions about topics ranging from classroom teaching techniques to good Internet resources for professional development. The initial responses are provided by mentor teachers, most of whom are Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. Some of these Q&As lead to public discussions that you can join, and which are archived.

For example, let's look at one thread that began with the question of how to use computers in a middle school mathematics classroom.

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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. Other doctors can read the dialogs too, and join the discussion. In these two examples, Angie and Dr. Teeple began to explore how to solve a word problem, and Sam, stimulated by a biblical reference, discussed rounding pi initially 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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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., Math-Teach, Numeracy, Geometry-Pre-College, K-12 Math Education, Math History List, NCTM Standards 2000, etc.). For example, we host discussions for AMTE, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. Many of these groups are open to the public.

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

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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, items about 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. We welcome you to subscribe to the newsletter as one way to join our community.

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THE MATH FORUM: Creating community, developing resources, constructing knowledge...