Tag Archives: Problem Solving

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 ››

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 ››

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 ››

A Double Dissection from The New York Times

Did you know that aside from being a source of news, The New York Times is also the place to get your weekly fix of mathematics? Their online Numberplay column features some very clever math puzzles. Last year, in fact, our blog featured a Numberplay puzzle about a flying squirrel-frog from former Key Curriculum … Continue Reading ››

Constructing Equal-Area Triangles

The origins of this week's Web Sketchpad model date back to the  Connected Geometry curriculum from the mid 1990s. I was one of the co-authors of the curriculum, working at Education Development Center with a  wonderful team of math educators (Al Cuoco, Paul Goldenberg, and June Mark, … Continue Reading ››

Solving Simultaneous Equations with Common Sense

Simultaneous equations belong in elementary-school mathematics curricula. That's been my mantra for many years, and I want to examine it now in the context of an interactive Web Sketchpad activity. When I say that elementary-age students should encounter simultaneous equations, I don't mean that they should be instructed in the standard algebraic procedure for solving pairs of equations … 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 ››

Moving Beyond Formulas When Investigating Triangle Area

For the past year, my blogging partner Scott and I have worked with the team of Everyday Mathematics to build interactive Web Sketchpad models for their forthcoming new edition. It's been fun for both of us to find ways to insert dynamic mathematics into their K–6 curriculum. Last year, I shared anContinue Reading ››