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 and Web Sketchpad software, curriculum, and professional development. He taught Secondary Math Methods in the graduate teacher education program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a co-principal investigator on the NSF-funded Forging Connections project.

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 ››

In my previous two posts, I listed some of the new Dynamic Number project activities (for grades 2-5 and grades 5-8) that engage students in manipulating and investigating dynamic mathematical objects from day … Continue Reading ››

In the Dynamic Number project, one of our goals has been to create activities in which students actually experience mathematical objects by creating them, manipulating them, and investigating them. (George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez describe, in Where Mathematics Comes From, how students' abstract mathematical concepts are grounded in … Continue Reading ››

As an 18-year veteran teacher in Philadelphia public schools, my initial reaction when I first saw Sketchpad was “This would have completely changed the way I taught geometry.”
I phrase it differently today: “This would have completely changed the way students experience mathematics.” a perspective that differs in two important details.
First, I now understand that the … Continue Reading ››

After writing yesterday's post on the connections between polar and Cartesian graphs, I realized that I hadn't said anything about how easy it is to start from scratch and create a polar graph in Sketchpad, so I decided to write this post, and include an instructional video. Here are … Continue Reading ››

The May 2013 Mathematics Teacher has an excellent article by Jonathan F. Lawes ("Graphing Polar Curves") on the value of plotting the same function in both polar and rectangular coordinates. Doing so not only helps students understand how polar coordinates work, but also gives them a novel and revealing … Continue Reading ››

Last week was the fourth session of my spring Advanced Secondary Math Methods class at the University of Pennsylvania. Each year I assign a semester project in which groups of three students use lesson-study techniques—on a small scale—to create, test, refine, teach, evaluate, and document specific shared instructional products, composed of a (possibly multi-day) lesson … Continue Reading ››

Like other enthusiasts of mathematics, I’m captivated by the way that mathematical ideas can explain things in the physical world around me, and by the way that I can carry out mathematical thought experiments in my mind and then apply the results to control my external physical environment.

I had the immense good fortune this year to attend ICME, the International Congress on Mathematical Education. The Congress is held every year divisible by 4, and this iteration (the twelfth) was held in Seoul, Korea. It is quite something to be at a meeting of nearly 4000 … Continue Reading ››

Not long ago, I conducted a Saturday morning PD session for some Texas teachers participating in an NSF research project.
(The research is a controlled study of the relationship between students’ use of Sketchpad and their conjecturing and proving behavior. I hope we’ll have a blog post about this study itself before too long.)
Because of the … Continue Reading ››