Tag Archives: Algebra and Functions

International Congress for Mathematics Education Part 2

I began this post on Friday night in Hamburg Germany, near the end of ICME, the quadrennial international math-education conference that's been both exhilarating and exhausting. I’m now finishing it on the airplane headed back home. ICME-paper As interesting as many of the presentations have been, they've also been … Continue Reading ››

Connecting Functions in Geometry and Algebra

News alert! Scott and I wrote the cover story, Connecting Functions in Geometry and Algebra, in this month's Mathematics Teacher. You can read the article in print, but better yet, go to the free online version. This is the first time Mathematics Teacher has incorporated live dynamic-mathematics figures into its online offerings, allowing readers to manipulate the mathematical … 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 ››

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 ››

Pi Day 2015: Pieces of Pi

For this year’s Pi Day post, I thought I’d continue our Web Sketchpad (WSP) construction theme. But rather than adapting the visualizations from last year’s Pi Day post to the new construction capabilities, I decided to take a different approach. Some time ago, I built a set of custom tools for … Continue Reading ››

WCYDWT: A Ball, a Trash Can, and Web Sketchpad

Dan Meyer has posted a number of "What Can You Do With This?" activities on his blog. (Activities is probably too prescriptive a word; they're more in the nature of prompts for student thinking, noticing, and wondering.) One of the first was the image below, which he made by superimposing frames from a … Continue Reading ››

Tribute to Zalman Usiskin

On November 6 I had the honor of being one of the panelists in a Symposium Honoring Zalman Usiskin, held to honor Zal’s many years of contributions to mathematics education, from his groundbreaking 1971 textbook Geometry: A Transformation Approach (GATA) to his continuing activities today. My panel was supposed to discuss his work on … Continue Reading ››

A Balance Model Approach to Algebraic Equations

From 2009 to 2013, I had the pleasure of working with the elementary teachers at the School for Discovery and Exploration in Brooklyn, New York as they field tested Sketchpad materials for the Dynamic Number project. Although the project has ended, I still keep … Continue Reading ››

From Two Dimensions to One

In my last post, I provided some dilation challenges and linked to a Dilation Function Family activity. In that activity students manipulate independent and dependent variables, observe their relative rate of change, restrict the domain, and use meaningful function notation. This and similar activities involving “technologically embodied geometric functions” … Continue Reading ››

Dilation Challenges

For a while now, I’ve been intrigued by the ways in which the study of geometric transformations can provide students with a very effective introduction to function concepts. Daniel and I have written a couple of articles about this topic, and we created a number of activities to take advantage of what can arguably be … Continue Reading ››