A Geometry Challenge from Japan

Here is a wonderful geometry problem from Japan: The five triangles below are all isosceles. The quadrilaterals are all rhombi. The shaded quadrilateral is a square. What is the area of the square? I wondered at first whether the English translation of the problem was correct because with so many side … Continue Reading ››

Pythagoras Plugged In

If there were an award for 'Mathematical Theorem Most Amenable to a Visual Proof,'  the Pythagorean Theorem would surely win. The title of this post is a nod to the Sketchpad activity module Pythagoras Plugged In by Dan Bennett. Dan's book contains 18 visual, interactive proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. And there are more:  The Pythagorean … Continue Reading ››

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. As interesting as many of the presentations have been, they've also been … Continue Reading ››

A Mathematical Mystery Story with Web Sketchpad

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post about the value that students derive from writing mathematics with Sketchpad. The post included an example of a simple Logo iteration, easily implemented in Sketchpad, that produces some very complex and interesting shapes depending on the values of several input parameters. In the article* where … Continue Reading ››

Putting the Power of a Point Theorem to Work

The power of a point theorem is one of the more surprising results in elementary geometry. The theorem says that if two chords AB and CD of a circle intersect at point P, then the product AP · PB is equal to the product CP · PD. You can see an illustration of this theorem in the Web Sketchpad model below. Drag points … Continue Reading ››

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 ››

Fine Tuning Web Sketchpad’s Construction Interface

When the Web Sketchpad team created the interface for tools, there were lots of design decisions to be made. We made the best choices we could at the time, but after months of daily use, it became clear that at least one aspect of tool functionality needed some rethinking. In the original design of tools (which you can … Continue Reading ››

Creating Mosaics Inspired by a Pattern from Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Mirek Majewski was born in Poland and studied mathematics at the Nicholas Copernicus University in Poland with an M.S. and Ph.D. in non-classical geometries. He is a professor of mathematics and computer science at several universities – PNG University of Technology, Inter-University of Macau (now Saint Joseph University), Zayed University in United Arab Emirates, and New York … Continue Reading ››

Exploring Triangle Area with Custom-Built Tools

With Web Sketchpad, it's easy to craft tools that are tailor made for the task at hand. I was reminded of this flexibility several weeks ago when creating an interactive model for the elementary curriculum Everyday Mathematics. My goal was to design a lesson focusing on the triangle area formula, A = bh/2. … Continue Reading ››

Hello Spring!

Today's blog post features a sketch from Anna Nguyen, who's a 9th grade student. Anna observes, "Math is one of my favorite subjects. I'm not a genius or the smartest in my class, but I do enjoy dealing with letters and numbers, which is also why I like chemistry. I think GSP is the most … Continue Reading ››