Deducing the “Mystery” Fraction

Estimation is an important mathematical skill, yet we rarely ask students to make estimates that relate to fractions. As part of the Dynamic Number project, we created a "mystery" fraction challenge  that presents a green point somewhere between 0 and 1 on the number line. The point's location can be represented as a fraction with … Continue Reading ››

Binomial Multiplication and Concreteness Fading

I was delighted that Daniel recently posted our Binomial Multiplication sketches in Web Sketchpad format. I thought about those sketches when I noticed a fairly new myNCTM thread on "When and How do we phase out the body in math education?" This thread raises a very important question for us as … Continue Reading ››

Binomial Multiplication and Factoring Games

The four Web Sketchpad activities below from our Dynamic Number project  provide a sequenced collection of challenges and games that develop an area model approach to binomial multiplication and factoring. You can click any of the images to open the interactive websketches on a separate page.

Dynamic Algebra Tiles, Part One

In the first websketch, students … Continue Reading ››

Multiplication Arrays

I've lost track of how many  parents have quizzed me as to why the mathematics their children are learning is so different from what they remember in school. "Why must my kids study more than one way to multiply? Isn't memorizing their multiplication facts enough?" is a frequent lament. James Tanton, Mathematician in Residence at the … Continue Reading ››

Algebra Cross Number Puzzles

In my previous post, I wrote about cross number puzzles—puzzles that mix arithmetic and logic to introduce students to place value, commutativity, and the addition and subtraction algorithms. Now, I'd like to present a variant of cross number puzzles that adds some algebra to the mix. Below (and here on its own page) are … Continue Reading ››

Cross Number Puzzles

We live in a golden age of number puzzles. Sudoku is probably the most famous of all modern-day number puzzles, but there are many Japanese puzzles that are also gaining popularity, such as KenKen and Menseki Meiro. In this post, I'd like to introduce a number puzzle for young learners that predates … Continue Reading ››

Enhancing Web Sketchpad

As a longtime Sketchpad fan, one of the most interesting features of Web Sketchpad (WSP) for me is the way its behavior can be customized. WSP makes it possible to add JavaScript to a web page in order to interact directly with objects in the sketch. For instance, a JavaScript function could use the locations … Continue Reading ››

Exploring Multiples on a Dynamic Number Grid

What would it take to build a better number grid for young learners? A typical number grid contains 10 columns with the numbers progressing from 1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and so on, from row to row. We decided to upend this tradition and make a dynamic number grid with Web Sketchpad that allows students to choose … Continue Reading ››

Digging Deep Into Varignon’s Theorem

In the interactive websketch below (and here on its own page), ABCD is an arbitrary quadrilateral whose midpoints form quadrilateral EFGH. Drag any vertex of ABCD. What do you notice about EFGH? The midpoint quadrilateral theorem, attributed to the French mathematician Pierre Varignon, is relatively new in the canon of geometry theorems, dating to 1731. Mathematics educator Chris Pritchard … Continue Reading ››

Function Dances at NCTM

At the 2017 NCTM Annual Meeting I was invited to do a short Wednesday-afternoon presentation on Function Dances in the NCTM Networking Lounge. (Here's the handout from the presentation.) The idea of function dances is to get students (or in this case teachers) moving around, acting as the independent and dependent … Continue Reading ››

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