When I was introduced to radian measure in high school, I knew just one thing: How to convert between radians and degrees. Had you asked me to illustrate a radian on a circle or to explain why radian measure was useful, I would have been stumped.
In this post, I'll describe a Web Sketchpad activity … Continue Reading ››

In how many different ways can you build a rhombus that stays a rhombus when its vertices are dragged? This assignment, a mainstay of Sketchpad workshops, invariably leads to great discussions because there are a multitude of ways to construct a rhombus, with each method highlighting different mathematical properties of the quadrilateral.
While the rhombus task works … Continue Reading ››

This past January, we introduced the Web Sketchpad Tool Library and Viewer. The Tool Library is a collection of over 60 mathematical tools for customizing a Web Sketchpad model, making it possible for teachers to decide which tools students have available to them on an activity-by-activity basis. The Viewer is a site … Continue Reading ››

Of all the conic section construction techniques, my favorite is undoubtedly the approach that requires nothing more than a paper circle.
Here's what to do: Draw or print a circle and its center, point A, on a sheet of paper. Cut out the circle. Mark a random point B anywhere on the circle. Then, fold … Continue Reading ››

Geometry tends not to receive much love in elementary curricula, and that's a shame. In this post, I'll describe some of my new ideas for using Web Sketchpad to introduce young learners to fundamental properties of circles.

On page 1 of the websketch below (and here), begin by asking students to drag … Continue Reading ››

David Henderson, the author of Experiencing Geometry, died this past December. I wrote about David in a prior post, and in particular, his approach of asking us to grapple with a small number of rich problems, allowing us to find our own, often non-traditional, ways of … Continue Reading ››

For the past five years, Scott and I have featured interactive Web Sketchpad models in nearly all our Sine of the Times blog posts. As much fun as it's been to build "websketches" to share with you, we've really wanted to put the creative power of Web Sketchpad into your hands.
And now, finally, that's … Continue Reading ››

In his 1947 book, One, Two, Three...Infinity, physicist George Gamow poses a pirate treasure problem that has since become a classic. Below is my reworded statement of the puzzle.

Among a pirate's belongings you find the following note:
The island where I buried my treasure contains a single palm tree. Find the tree. From the palm tree, … Continue Reading ››

The picture below on the left shows a right triangle JML with altitude KM. This altitude is defined as the geometric mean of JK and KL. Using similar triangles, you can prove that JK × KL = KM². Another way to think about this construction is shown below on the right. Start with segments JK and … Continue Reading ››

Twitter is a great place to find geometry problems. The July 22, 2017 post of xylem presented the image below with two squares, ABCD and BFGE, sharing a vertex. Given that AE = 5, what is the length of DG?
My first thought was that surely the problem was … Continue Reading ››