24th annual Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference
Harrisonburg, Virginia
March 9 and 10, 2000

Explore the Math Forum
Gail Englert genglert@home.com      Lisa Lavelle

About The Math Forum

The goal for this session is to give a guided hands-on tour of Math Forum features of special interest to teachers.

Note: We suggest that you bookmark this page so that you can easily get back to it as "home base" if you wander away from the tour.

 The Math Forum - http://mathforum.org/
    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 consistently been recognized as the leader in its field by continuing to provide high-quality content and useful features. This recognition is reflected in traffic to the site; in an average month, about 80,000 unique visitors make about 200,000 visits, each lasting about 9 minutes and resulting in over 4 million pageviews.

    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 - http://mathforum.org/pow/

    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 revise or strengthen their solutions.

    There is a searchable archive of over 700 problems, each with the administrator's comments and highlighted solutions. Current or archived problems can be integrated into courses in a variety of ways: as introductory or summary activities, as enrichment, to encourage teamwork 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.

    • 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 an indication of a course or grade level;

    • teachers can request accounts that can be sorted by class or 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.

    • Mentoring opportunity: Mentoring of PoWs can be used by preservice teachers as "prefield" experience, current teachers for professional development, and secondary students as a tool for improving mathematical thinking and communication.
 Ask Dr. Math - http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
    Take a moment to think of and record a question your students might ask about something in mathematics, or a mathematical question that has come up in your own explorations.**

    Ask Dr. Math is an ask-an-expert service in which anyone in the world can pose a math question at any level. A cadre of volunteer 'doctors' selects and responds to problems of interest. In addition to an archive of over 5,000 questions and answers that is searchable by level and topic, there are:

    • a set of nearly 50 Frequently Asked Questions on the Dr. Math FAQ page, including items about multiplying a negative by a negative, permutations and combinations, the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal's Triangle, and more;

    • a Classic Problems page, including such favorites as: "two trains leave from different cities ..."; "if one child in a two-child family is a boy, what is the likelihood that the other child is a girl?"; "how large must a group be so that the chance of at least two people having the same birthday is ..."; etc.;

    • a Formulas page, which shows formulas for area, perimeter, and volume of a variety of figures, the connections between coordinate systems, and more.

    **On our Guidelines page, you will find ideas about the classroom use of Ask Dr. Math, such as the introductory activity at the beginning of this section.

 Teacher2Teacher - http://mathforum.org/t2t/

    Like a virtual teacher's lounge, Teacher2Teacher is an environment in which questions are asked and opinions are shared about topics across the broad spectrum of interest to teachers, including classroom techniques, activities, resources, professional development, etc. The archive contains over 500 questions and their related discussion threads. Initial responses are provided by master teachers, including Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching, and many questions stimulate a host of responses as issues are explored and opinions expressed.

    A frequently asked question like "what role can manipulatives play in teaching mathematics?" can generate much discussion, as can be seen on this FAQ page.

    Click here to Join T2T Community: By joining T2T, you will receive the Teacher2Teacher Community Update, which contains news about our community and related items of interest from the Math Forum.

 Internet Mathematics Library - http://mathforum.org/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 7,500 items in the collection, organized under the headings of Mathematics Topics, Resource Types, Mathematics Education Topics, and Educational Level. "Drilling down" from any heading takes you to a set of categories, then to a page showing subcategories, selected sites, and all sites in the category.

 Math Forum Searches - http://mathforum.org/grepform.html

    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 the Webmaster (webmaster@mathforum.org) to clarify any unresolved confusion or questions.

 Web Units and Lessons - http://mathforum.org/web.units.html

    The Math Forum is committed to building on the activity of the teachers, students, and researchers who use it. The Forum provides a platform and the opportunity to share excellent resources and materials, such as Suzanne Alejandre's Mathematics Lessons.

    Exemplary materials created by people in the extended Math Forum community are highlighted in the changing gallery of the Forum Showcase.

    The Math Forum is also engaged in educational research projects. An example of this work is the Bridging Research and Practice (BRAP) Project. The work of teachers focused on encouraging students' mathematical thinking is highlighted in this online videopaper. There is also an online discussion that uses this videopaper as a conversation starter. There are links to this discussion page from the videopaper.

 Math Forum Internet Newsletter - http://mathforum.org/electronic.newsletter/

    Our electronic newsletter is sent out via e-mail once a week to those who subscribe, and is archived on our site. It offers tips about 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 services like Ask Dr. Math or the Problems of the Week, suggestions for K-12 teachers and students, and pointers to key issues in mathematics and math education.

 Discussion Groups & Projects - http://mathforum.org/discussions/

    The Math Forum's discussion archives include many mathematics and math-education-related newsgroups, mailing lists, and Web-based discussions, such as the pow-teach discussion mentioned above, as well as math-teach, numeracy, geometry-pre-college, k12.ed.math, etc. Many discussion sites are very active, like sci.math, which had about 900 threads posted in September 2000 alone.

 Join Us As a Contributor - http://mathforum.org/join.forum.html/

    There are many ways to contribute to the Math Forum community. Beyond using the various services we provide, many people subscribe to the newsletter, participate in T2T and other discussions, and make suggestions, such as alerting us to other good materials and websites they have discovered. Others find satisfaction in sharing their content as Web units or lessons, or showcasing their students' work. Many people voluteer their time and efforts to respond to T2T or Ask Dr. Math questions, while others act as mentors for one of the Problems of the Week.

    In whatever ways this might work best for you, please know that you are always welcome and invited to interact with us in our on-line math ed community center.

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