Using technology to solve triangle construction problems, students apply their knowledge of points of concurrency, coordinate geometry, and transformational geometry.
The advent of dynamic geometry software has changed the way students draw, construct, and measure by using virtual tools instead of or along with physical tools. Use of technology in general and of dynamic geometry in particular has gained traction in mathematics education, as evidenced in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSI 2010).
Chris Harrow and Lillian Chin
Exploration, innovation, proof: For students, teachers, and others who are curious, keeping your mind open and ready to investigate unusual or unexpected properties will always lead to learning something new. Technology can further this process, allowing various behaviors to be analyzed that were previously memorized or poorly understood. This article shares the adventure of one such discovery of exploration, innovation, and proof that was uncovered when a teacher tried to find a smoother way to model conic sections using dynamic technology. When an unexpected pattern regarding the locus of an ellipse's or hyperbola's foci emerged, he pitched the problem to a ninth grader as a challenge, resulting in a marvelous adventure for both teacher and student. Beginning with the evolution of the ideas that led to the discovery of the focal locus and ending with the significant student-written proof and conclusion, we hope to inspire further classroom use of technology to enhance student learning and discovery.
Ayanna D. Perry, Emily P. Thrasher, and Hollylynne S. Lee
The use of iPads® in the classroom is growing. In the 2013–14 school year, 57 percent of schools planned to invest in iPads (Netop 2013). This investment can benefit mathematics classrooms only if teachers know which apps they can use to help students develop deeper mathematical understanding. Although learning about and developing facility with various apps is valuable for mathematics teachers, the process can be difficult, overwhelming, and time-consuming. To get started, we recommend one app, Dropbox, that can be used to share materials within the classroom setting, and then we suggest three free, easy-to-use mathematics apps: Sketchpad Explorer, Data Analysis, and MathGraph (see the table on p. 711).
Robin S. O'Dell
Graphing orbits using linear iteration rules inspires enjoyment and artistry.
A wonderful experience occurred in a class that I was teaching recently. It was a precalculus class, the last period of the day. The local university had brought over its cadre of preservice secondary school mathematics teachers to observe my class, so there were twenty-four additional eyes on me that day.
Michael Todd Edwards, James Quinlan, Suzanne R. Harper, Dana C. Cox, and Steve Phelps
This approach to determining measures of angles fosters stronger understanding of formal proof.
I always seek activities that might stretch my students yet would be accessible to them; that might require logical thought yet would contain counterintuitive elements; that might provide the opportunity to venture into new mathematical realms yet would have a simple starting point. This article and the activity that inspired it did indeed arise by way of a relatively straightforward problem that I proposed to one of my classes.
Students often have difficulty with the topic of straight-line graphs. Perhaps they cannot relate to the abstractness of the concepts involved. Perhaps the sheer number and complexity of the skills required—reading algebra, substituting values, rearranging formulas, dealing with negative numbers, understanding coordinates and fractions—magnifies any misconceptions or weaknesses that students may have in other areas of mathematics, rendering them unable to come to grips with the topic as a whole.
John H. Lamb
Vector properties and the birds' frictionless environment help students understand the mathematics behind the game.