Category Archives: Elementary Mathematics

The Return of the Odometer

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 ››

Questioning Some Dynamic Geometry Angle Wisdom

For the past eight months, my colleague Scott Steketee and I have collaborated with the authors of the elementary curriculum Everyday Mathematics to 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 dragging any of … Continue Reading ››

Simultaneous Equations in Elementary School? You Bet!

Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too! The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer makes a compelling argument … Continue Reading ››

Arranging Addends Puzzles

Arranging Addends is an interactive puzzle that I designed on a long bus ride through Alaska. 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 numbers in the green circle is 21, … Continue Reading ››

Factor Patterns at Your Fingertips

Take a look at the interactive model below (and here). Most of the numbers in the array are shaded orange, but several are blue. What is special about these blue values? They are the factors of 32, the largest number in the array. Try dragging the red point to change the dimensions of the array. … Continue Reading ››