# Preparing Tomorrow’s Data Scientists Through Data Games

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Big Data’s Problem: Little Talent," the technology industry faces a major dearth of employees with strong data analysis skills. The article quotes a 2011 study by McKinsey:
A significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise … Continue Reading ››

# Exploring Conic Sections with Sketchpad

As a student, I didn’t place conic sections on my list of favorite high school topics. The standard textbook treatment of the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola seemed uninspired. There were messy algebraic equations with multiple square roots. There was lots of terminology. Drawing a conic meant plotting several points on graph paper and connecting them with … Continue Reading ››

At around Pi-hour on Friday afternoon we successfully launched our new website. The night before (the night of the big storm for Bay Area folks), Andres and I were out with a dear former colleague and I mentioned I was going to blog about our new branding, new website, and new name. She said, “You … Continue Reading ››

# Parents, Children, and Functions in Sketchpad

Functions are hard for students. Students seem to master various families of functions – linear, polynomial, exponential, trigonometric, and so forth. They can graph them, evaluate them, transform them, and answer a variety of questions about them. But ask even our better students a question that’s out of the ordinary and we’re likely to be taken … Continue Reading ››

# “Data Games”—Getting the Math Right in Math Games

As a parent and math educator, I'm always on the lookout for high-quality, fun apps that help my sons and other young people develop their understanding of math. There are a large number of math games for mobile devices and PCs being churned out, and many articles being written in popular ed tech blogs and … Continue Reading ››

In a recent blog post, Karen Coe referred to Conrad Wolfram’s opinion that programming is to mathematics what composition is to English. I’ve taught programming and written a lot of Sketchpad code, and I appreciate Wolfram’s analogy. In English class, students read books, poems, short stories, essays, and articles—but to gain a deep appreciation for … Continue Reading ››

# When Factoring Gets Personal

As an author of Sketchpad activities, I like to think that I can pose good problems for students to solve. But as I visit elementary classrooms and watch students use Sketchpad, I realize that a large part of the enjoyment they derive from using our software comes from creating their own problems and sharing them … Continue Reading ››

# What’s up with Key? A Response to Dan Meyer

The other week Dan Meyer sent out this tweet. While we appreciate the compliment (and the resulting increase in traffic), it's the first part of that sentence … Continue Reading ››

# Oh, the Fractions You’ll See!

A quick quiz: How many fractions are there? This may sound like an absurd question, but in the context of elementary mathematics curricula, it makes a lot of sense. Think about it: Children encounter fractions like 1/2, 3/4, and 2/6 all the time, but do they ever see 1/100, 31/90, or 499/500? Unlikely. No brave soul … Continue Reading ››