All posts by Scott Steketee

Scott Steketee taught secondary math and computer science in Philadelphia for 18 years and received the district's Teacher of Excellence award. Since 1992 he has worked on Sketchpad software, curriculum, and professional development for Key Curriculum Press and KCP Technologies. He also teaches Secondary Math Methods in the graduate teacher education program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Understand the Sine Function by Dancing It

In Where Mathematics Comes From, cognitive scientists George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez assert that our understanding of abstract mathematical concepts relies upon our sensory-motor experiences:

“For the most part, human beings conceptualize abstract concepts in concrete terms, using ideas and modes of reasoning grounded in the sensory-motor system. The mechanism by which the … Continue Reading ››

Iteration in the Complex Plane

The cover story of the April 2014 issue of Mathematics Teacher is on "Iteration in the Complex Plane", by Robin S. O'Dell. It sounds like pretty advanced mathematics, but is surprisingly accessible with The Geometer's Sketchpad. It's all based on the surprising principle that you can multiply two complex numbers very easily if … Continue Reading ››

π Day 2014

π Day has always been a special day for me, from my earliest days. In fact, I've never figured out whether I was so eager to celebrate my first π Day that I jumped the gun and sent my mom into labor early, or whether I just wanted be sure to experience all 24 hours … Continue Reading ››

Discovering the Angle Sum and Difference Identities

In my Advanced Methods class at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, my students are working in groups to create shared lesson plans using an inquiry approach. For a number of reasons it can be challenging for these pre-service teachers to identify appropriate topics for student inquiry, but sometimes the brainstorming they do turns into something … Continue Reading ››

Discovery by Dragging

A few days ago I led a webinar on the Common Core and Sketchpad for Sketchpad beginners, and I showed four Sketchpad activities aligned with both the Content Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. I mixed it up a bit by showing two … Continue Reading ››

The Wavy Wavy Bridge

At the 2013 Baltimore Regional NCTM Meeting, I gave a presentation on Picturing Functions and Functions of Pictures. In the description of my presentation I’d promised to show how to use Sketchpad to create special effects, so when it came time to prepare, I figured I needed to deliver on my promise. So I wrote a … Continue Reading ››

Picturing Functions and Functions of Pictures

I’m excited to be making my first presentation of the 2013-14 school year next week in Baltimore. Daniel Scher and I are presenting Picturing Functions and Functions of Pictures. We'll be discussing the connections between pictures and functions. These connections are even richer than I realized when I first began to work with pictures in Sketchpad. In the … Continue Reading ››

Collaborating on an Extension to a Little-Known Theorem

[Today's post is from Steven Fuchs, with whom I recently corresponded and whose enthusiasm was sufficiently infectious that I pressed him to share it here. --Scott]

One day late last spring, while teaching at St. Thomas High School in Houston, I noticed in a book a figure demonstrating Monge’s Theorem. (Don't look this up … Continue Reading ››

What Does Rowing Have to Do with Teaching Mathematics?

Harry congratulates a rower after sweeping Yale for his last time.
Harry Parker died this summer, two weeks after coaching the Harvard rowing team to yet another sweep of all four races (varsity, JV, freshmen, and spares) against Yale and two days after accompanying his 1980 Olympic … Continue Reading ››