Category Archives: Math Software

Exploring Conic Sections with Sketchpad

As a student, I didn’t place conic sections on my list of favorite high school topics. The standard textbook treatment of the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola seemed uninspired. There were messy algebraic equations with multiple square roots. There was lots of terminology. Drawing a conic meant plotting several points on graph paper and connecting them with … Continue Reading ››

Branding isn’t about math. Are you sure about that?

At around Pi-hour on Friday afternoon we successfully launched our new website. The night before (the night of the big storm for Bay Area folks), Andres and I were out with a dear former colleague and I mentioned I was going to blog about our new branding, new website, and new name. She said, “You … Continue Reading ››

Parents, Children, and Functions in Sketchpad

Functions are hard for students. Students seem to master various families of functions – linear, polynomial, exponential, trigonometric, and so forth. They can graph them, evaluate them, transform them, and answer a variety of questions about them. But ask even our better students a question that’s out of the ordinary and we’re likely to be taken … Continue Reading ››

“Data Games”—Getting the Math Right in Math Games

As a parent and math educator, I'm always on the lookout for high-quality, fun apps that help my sons and other young people develop their understanding of math. There are a large number of math games for mobile devices and PCs being churned out, and many articles being written in popular ed tech blogs and … Continue Reading ››

Writing Mathematics with Sketchpad

In a recent blog post, Karen Coe referred to Conrad Wolfram’s opinion that programming is to mathematics what composition is to English. I’ve taught programming and written a lot of Sketchpad code, and I appreciate Wolfram’s analogy. In English class, students read books, poems, short stories, essays, and articles—but to gain a deep appreciation for … Continue Reading ››

The key to Everything Around You Is Right in Your Pocket

"You won't be carrying a calculator with you everywhere you go." A friend of mine recalled his math teacher telling him that. I'm sure we've all heard this or even have said it before ourselves. However, this particular retelling came over twitter, posted from an iPhone, that he keeps with him everywhere he goes. While it … Continue Reading ››

Touching the Math

Sketchpad has always been great for learning by doing. You can create a triangle and then manipulate the angles with your mouse and observe the results. There is something really primal, though, about using an iPad or a Smart Board, reaching in and grabbing the geometry with your bare hands. … Continue Reading ››