Daniel Scher, Ph.D., is a senior academic designer at McGraw-Hill Education. He has co-directed two NSF-funded projects: the Dynamic Number project and the Forging Connections project.

In the early 1990s, Danny Vizcaino, a high school student at Monte Vista High School in California, wrote to Key Curriculum Press noting that Sketchpad did not come with a tool to draw an oval. Undaunted by this omission, Danny had built his own oval with the software and shared it with Key's editors. As shown in the interactive … Continue Reading ››

When I was child, I loved to solve the brainteasers in logic puzzle magazines. You probably know the type: Ruth, Phyllis, and Joan each bought a different kind of fruit (orange, apple, pear) and a different vegetable (spinach, kale, carrots) at the supermarket. No one bought both an orange and carrots. Ruth didn't buy an apple or kale. … Continue Reading ››

There are certain topics in mathematics education not appropriate for polite discussion. Number bases other than 10 fit this category well, perhaps because of their association with the maligned "new math" of the 1960s. That's a shame because there is a lot to learn from them, especially when presented as interactive puzzles. Below (and here) are … Continue Reading ››

In my prior post, I presented an interactive Web Sketchpad odometer that is a great tool for introducing young learners to place value. Well, technology moves fast these days, and the latest odometers are more powerful than ever. While our prior odometer featured '+' buttons above each digit, our newest innovation in number-tracking technology features … Continue Reading ››

Below (and here) is an interactive odometer built with Web Sketchpad. Press each of the '+' keys and observe their effect on the odometer's value. Also notice how your button presses are tracked in the table below the odometer. I built this model as a way to … Continue Reading ››

For the past eight months, my colleague Scott Steketee and I have collaborated with the authors of the elementary curriculum Everyday Mathematicsto design interactive Web Sketchpad models for their next edition. When it came time to create a Sketchpad representation of an isosceles triangle, I built the interactive triangle model below. Try … Continue Reading ››

Every week, The New York Times challenges its readers to solve a mathematical puzzle in its online Numberplay column. This week's puzzle was proposed by none other than Dan Bennett, a former editor and author at Key Curriculum Press, and his colleague, Avery Pickford. Here is their … Continue Reading ››

In several of my earlier blog posts, I've written about Sketchpad activities that present factors and multiples in puzzle form (see, for example, When Factoring Gets Personal). Now I'd like to introduce you to another puzzle of mine called Open the Safe that also focuses on factors and multiples. Below … Continue Reading ››

Did you know that The Geometer's Sketchpad is a great tool for creating funhouse mirror pictures? Sure, Sketchpad can reflect, rotate, translate, or dilate a picture, but these operations are rather tame: They transform images uniformly, producing pictures that are easily recognizable versions of the original. By contrast, Sketchpad's "custom transform" feature allows you to apply non-linear transformations … Continue Reading ››

Welcome back to my ongoing series in which I feature interactive Web Sketchpad models that draw conic sections. Today’s installment, like the previous one, focuses on ellipses, and dates back to the 17th-century Dutch mathematician, Frans van Schooten. Below is an image from Continue Reading ››