Category Archives: Educational Technology

Bunny Times Brings Conceptual Understanding to Multiplication

Four years ago, my colleague Scott Steketee and I set out to develop an interactive game to help students develop strategies for thinking about and solving multiplication problems. As we examined the existing apps on the market, we discovered that most focused on the drill aspect of learning one's multiplication facts. We set our goals higher. We … Continue Reading ››

Putting the Power of a Point Theorem to Work

The power of a point theorem is one of the more surprising results in elementary geometry. The theorem says that if two chords AB and CD of a circle intersect at point P, then the product AP · PB is equal to the product CP · PD. You can see an illustration of this theorem in the Web Sketchpad model below. Drag points … Continue Reading ››

Dilation Games: Assessment That’s Fun

What does dilation feel like? I recently had the opportunity to work with a group of students who were testing activities that treat geometric transformations as functions (what I call geometric functions). I got lots of good ideas for improving the activities not only by watching the students, but also but also from their suggestions and the … Continue Reading ››

Tailoring Tools to the Task

In years past, my colleagues and I at Key Curriculum conducted Sketchpad professional development workshops for teachers. One of our favorite activities challenged participants to  construct a rhombus in as many different ways as possible. This assignment invariably led to great discussions because there are a multitude of ways to build a rhombus, and each method highlights its … Continue Reading ››

The Art of Parametric Equations

Can mathematical curves be beautiful? Most certainly! Precalculus students glimpse the connection between mathematics and art when they graph roses, cardioids, limaçons, and lemniscates. But these curves give just a taste of the beauty that can be achieved when graphing equations. In a recent article from the online science magazine Quanta, Pradeep Mutalik reviews a gorgeous new math book, Creating … Continue Reading ››

Fine Tuning Web Sketchpad’s Construction Interface

When the Web Sketchpad team created the interface for tools, there were lots of design decisions to be made. We made the best choices we could at the time, but after months of daily use, it became clear that at least one aspect of tool functionality needed some rethinking. In the original design of tools (which you can … Continue Reading ››

Arranging Addends Puzzles Revisited

In a blog post last year, I introduced my Arranging Addends puzzle. Take a look at the websketch below, built with Web Sketchpad. The goal of the puzzle is to arrange the circles and the six numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32) so that three conditions are met simultaneously: The sum of the … Continue Reading ››

Creating Mosaics Inspired by a Pattern from Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Mirek Majewski was born in Poland and studied mathematics at the Nicholas Copernicus University in Poland with an M.S. and Ph.D. in non-classical geometries. He is a professor of mathematics and computer science at several universities – PNG University of Technology, Inter-University of Macau (now Saint Joseph University), Zayed University in United Arab Emirates, and New York … Continue Reading ››

Constructing an Ellipse with Web Sketchpad Tools

In a prior blog post, I described the pins-and-string approach to drawing an ellipse: Press two pins into a corkboard, place a loop of string around the pins, pull the string tight with a pencil, and trace the pencil tip's path as you pull the pencil around the taut string. Guaranteeing that the traced … Continue Reading ››

The Broken Stick Puzzle

Several weeks ago, my friend Martin shared the following probability puzzle with me: Two points are chosen independently and at a random on a stick. The stick is broken at those points to form three smaller sticks. What is the probability these three sticks can form a triangle? This is a classic problem, dating back to … Continue Reading ››