While most numbers lead anonymous lives away from the mathematical spotlight, e^{iπ } occupies hallowed ground. Douglas Hofstadter writes that when he first saw the statement e^{iπ} = −1, “. . . perhaps at age 12 or so, it seemed truly magical, almost other-worldly.”

This past semester, I taught a geometry course for teachers at City College here in New York. As you might expect, Sketchpad figured heavily in the course contents. But unlike other semesters when desktop Sketchpad was my tool of choice, this time, I took the plunge and limited myself to Web Sketchpad.

When I reached calculus in my senior year of high school, it was clear that it sat atop a mountain that I had been ascending ever since my Algebra 1 class. Without the tools and procedures I had amassed from algebra and precalculus, I could never have performed the symbolic manipulations necessary to … Continue Reading ››

I was happy to collaborate on this blog post with Dr. Stavroula Patsiomitou, a researcher at the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in Greece. Dr. Patsiomitou received her PhD from the University of Ioannina and has written extensively about the field of dynamic geometry environments, including Sketchpad and Web Sketchpad. … Continue Reading ››

In how many ways can you use dynamic geometry software to build a rhombus that stays a rhombus when its vertices are dragged? This challenge, 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 … Continue Reading ››

In Algebra 1, I was the king of solving for x. Algebraic manipulation was fun and satisfying, and I was good at it. But my confidence was shaken when I encountered a test question of the variety 4x + 5 = 4x – 3. After subtracting 4x from both sides, I was … Continue Reading ››

Below are some common methods that geometry curricula offer for constructing scaled polygons:

Place a polygon on the coordinate plane, pick the origin as the center of dilation, scale each vertex by some specified amount by using its coordinates, and then connect the scaled vertices.