In this article, we discuss funky protractor tasks, which we designed to provide opportunities for students to reason about protractors and angle measure. We address how we have implemented these tasks, as well as how students have engaged with them.
Hamilton L. Hardison and Hwa Young Lee
The paper discusses technology that can help students master four triangle centers -- circumcenter, incenter, orthocenter, and centroid. The technologies are a collection of web-based apps and dynamic geometry software. Through use of these technologies, multiple examples can be considered, which can lead students to generalizations about triangle centers.
Thomas G. Edwards and Kenneth R. Chelst
In a 1999 article in Mathematics Teacher, we demonstrated how graphing systems of linear inequalities could be motivated using real-world linear programming problems (Edwards and Chelst 1999). At that time, the graphs were drawn by hand, and the corner-point principle was applied to find the optimal solution. However, that approach limits the number of decision variables to two, and problems with only two decision variables are often transparent and inauthentic.
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.
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.
Hyewon Chang and Barbara J. Reys
Using Clairaut's historic-dynamic approach and dynamic geometry tools in middle school can develop students' conceptual understanding before they encounter formal proof in geometry.
Justin T. Burris
Compare how third graders think mathematically when using virtual versus concrete base-ten blocks to learn place-value concepts.
This department showcases students' in-depth thinking and work on previously published problems. The August 2012 problem scenario leverages back-to-school shopping advertisements for this real-life scenario about making purchases using discount coupons. To access the full-size activity sheet, go to http://www.nctm.org/tcm, Back Issues.
Readers comment on published articles or offer their own ideas.
Craig J. Cullen, Joshua T. Hertel, and Sheryl John
Technology can be used to manipulate mathematical objects dynamically while also facilitating and testing mathematical conjectures. We view these types of authentic mathematical explorations as closely aligned to the work of mathematicians and a valuable component of our students' educational experience. This viewpoint is supported by NCTM and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).