Exploring Place Value With an Interactive Odometer

Below (and here) is an interactive odometer built with Web Sketchpad. Press each of the '+' keys and observe their effect on the odometer's value. Also notice how your button presses are tracked in the table below the odometer. I built this model as a way to … Continue Reading ››

Questioning Some Dynamic Geometry Angle Wisdom

For the past eight months, my colleague Scott Steketee and I have collaborated with the authors of the elementary curriculum Everyday Mathematics to design interactive Web Sketchpad models for their next edition. When it came time to create a Sketchpad representation of an isosceles triangle, I built the interactive triangle model below. Try … Continue Reading ››

Unlocking the Patterns of Multiples and Factors

In several of my earlier blog posts, I've written about Sketchpad activities that present factors and multiples in puzzle form (see, for example, When Factoring Gets Personal). Now I'd like to introduce you to another puzzle of mine called Open the Safe that also focuses on factors and multiples. Below … Continue Reading ››

Simultaneous Equations in Elementary School? You Bet!

Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too! The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer makes a compelling argument … Continue Reading ››

Arranging Addends is an interactive puzzle that I designed on a long bus ride through Alaska. 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 numbers in the green circle is 21, … Continue Reading ››

Experiments with a Color Calculator

In the 1970s, my childhood friend Tim owned an Activision console and a variety of game cartridges. Tim was the envy of our block, but no matter how much I enjoyed a rousing game of Pong, I knew that my electronic toy was even better. No, I didn't own the rival Atari game system: I … Continue Reading ››