CyberBee
Math Destinations
By Linda C. Joseph • Columbus Public
Schools • Library of Congress
Mathematics is the study of the measurement, properties, and relationships
of quantities and sets using numbers and symbols. It is also dazzling, magical,
perplexing, challenging, cool, awesome, and fun. Research has shown that the
moreabstract concepts become more concrete when modeled onscreen and guided
by teachers.
Center for Technology and Teacher Education: Mathematics
Teaching students how to think mathematically through handson technology
is one of the goals at the Center for Technology and Teacher Education. The
focus for this project was developing lessons around graphing calculators,
Geometer's Sketchpad, Microsoft Excel, the Explore Math.com Web site, Global
Positioning Systems, and MicroWorlds Logo. Activities range from Collecting
and Numerically Analyzing M&M Data to Exploring Geometric Constructions
of Parabolas. Files for completing the activities can be downloaded into your
software programs.
Coolmath4kids
Elementary students will love the Lemonade Stand. It's a great way to introduce
variables and business economics. The Tower of Hanoi is a game of skill and
logic in which rings must be moved from one pole to another in the proper order
by size. Dozens of other thinking games will keep students occupied for hours.
Count On
Count On is an awesome site that features games, puzzles, mysteries, and
competitions for all ages. In the game Dino Dig, students learn how to plot
the X and Y axes while looking for dinosaur bones. In Math Mysteries, students
can help Dottie Double fix the computer and tally votes at the Pop Awards.
For teachers, there is a database of problems to search and use in the classroom.
Educational Java Programs
WOW! These Java applets, complete with instructions and lesson plans, were
designed for teachers to use in the math curriculum. Within these interactive
programs, students choose correct coins or bills to pay for things, set the
correct time on the clock, and explore basic math skills with integer bars.
In addition, students learn about base10, the Pythagorean Theorem, fractals,
and Pi.
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
One of the most comprehensive databases of math and science resources is
located at the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC). Searching this site's
online catalog will return a wealth of information, including content descriptions,
appropriate grade levels, pricing, and sources for selected materials. The
complete National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum and
Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics is available here, accompanied
by extensive background information. Another useful feature is the Digital
Dozen, a monthly list of Web sites highlighting the best in math and science
on the Net.
Figure This
Does it make a difference where you shop? How could I send the check and
not pay the bill? Involve families in learning math by sending students home
with challenging problems. In these two examples, students interpret graphs,
compare prices, and examine probability. Students can move on to more difficult
problems, which help them to think about other possibilities. There are more
than 75 challenges available that are indexed by the title of the challenge
and math category. Figure This is a joint project of the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering,
and Widmeyer Communications, with support from the National Science Foundation,
and the U.S. Department of Education.
Fun Mathematics Lessons by Cynthia Lanius
Loads of lessons can be explored at this super site. Lanius has designed
practical, fun ways to teach math in the classroom. For instance, the unit
on fractals begins with, "Why study fractals?" Then, it continues with making
fractals and culminates by answering a series of questions based on the experience.
The Jurassic Park fractal is really cool to make. Some of the other lessons
are Stressed Out: Slope as Rate of Change, Mathematics of Cartography, Rectangle
Pattern Challenge, and Million Dollar Mission.
Google
Widely viewed as one of the best search engines on the Web, Google has expanded
its features to include a calculator. Simply type in the calculation such as
sqrt(9) or 2•6/3, then press the enter key for the answer. The calculator
understands many different units, as well as many physical and mathematical
constants. Experiment with various weights and measures, including pounds,
cups, and kilometers. It won't replace the graphing calculator, but it is an
easytouse tool for checking calculations.
H.I.P. Pocket Change
Make your own change, learn how coins are made, and find out the latest news
from the U.S. Mint. H.I.P. Pocket Change is a fabulous site for elementary
students who are interested in beginning a coin collection. Download lesson
plans with lots of ideas for using the 50 State Quarters Program.
Illuminations
(National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
Illuminations promotes engaged learning and problem solving with hundreds
of lessons and activities for teaching math standards. It is organized by grade
level and content area. Not to be missed are the iMath investigations built
around interactive math applets and video clips. Some examples include Creating,
Describing, and Analyzing Patterns to Recognize Relationships and Make Predictions
(Grades PreK2); Representing and Interpreting Data Using Spreadsheets and
Graphing Software (Grades 35); Simulating Probability Situations Using Box
Models (Grades 68); and Understanding Ratios of Areas of Inscribed Figures
Using Interactive Diagrams (Grades 912). In addition, this site can serve
as a model for creating effective standardsbased math lessons.
Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles
Stretch student minds with a variety of math puzzlers. Using Java applets,
Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles puts theory into practice. All
sorts of mathematical questions are explored beginning with a hypothesis or
premise followed by an actual problem or model to solve. Readers are invited
to email alternate solutions and join in the CTK Exchange, where answers may
be posted and questions raised. Use this site as a resource for the problem
of the day or challenge of the week. Choose from a multitude of stimulating
activities. Impress your friends with math magic and do not forget to check
the eyeopener series. This site encourages problem solving of unusual and
interesting problems.
Math Forum
Browse or search this gold mine of math Web page links maintained by Drexel
University. Click on "Math Resources by Subject" for a variety of curriculum
treasures. Ask Dr. Math for help with sticky problems via email or scan the
FAQ section for answers to common questions. The Math Forum is home to projects
that encourage students to use math problems, including the "Math Problems
of the Week." Solution activities may include guess and check, make a list,
draw a picture, make a table, or act it out. Volunteer math mentors follow
up student submissions with personal correspondence.
A Maths Dictionary for Kids by Jenny Eather
Jenny Eather, an Australian primary teacher, needed a reference resource
for her students. In her quest to meet that need, she learned Flash and created
a dictionary that is animated, interactive, and allows students to practice.
Click on "billion" and discover that you have 10 billion brain cells working
for you right now. Roll your mouse over the world time zone chart and you instantly
know the time for that part of the world. Over 500 terms are explained in simple
language. Every math teacher should bookmark this Web site.
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Program a ladybug to move through a maze, use base ten blocks to model grouping
in addition, illustrate a fraction by dividing a shape and highlighting the
appropriate parts, or investigate probabilities of sticking with a decision,
or switching. These are only a few of the many computerbased manipulatives
that have been created to help students visualize mathematical relationships
and applications. Number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data
analysis, and probability are the topics covered. This site was funded by a
grant from the National Science Foundation.
Pi Day
Looking for an idea to help students conceptualize Pi [¼]? Then, celebrate
Pi day on March 14. This date corresponds with the first three digits of ¼ (3.14). "Pi
Day" has become a festival in many classrooms as students investigate its value
by approximating the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of the circle.
Have students problem solve the activities included at this site to reinforce
the concept. Bake a pie as a special treat on Pi Day! After this experience,
students won't forget the number.
Project Interactive
Sort colored shapes into a Venn Diagram. Practice estimation skills by determining
the number of objects, length, or area. Encode and decode messages. Work with
spinners, graphs, and all sorts of interactive gadgets while learning math
concepts. Teachers will appreciate the scripted lessons to follow when using
the activities and discussions. Each lesson gives prerequisites, preparation
instructions, a suggested outline, and alternate outlines.
Kindling the Fire
"A mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled."
Plutarch
Many of the sites reviewed in this article feature interactive problemsolving
lessons and activities. Find a lesson that fits into your math curriculum,
encourage students to think and ask questions while solving the problem. Then,
watch the fire ignite!
Be sure to visit CyberBee [http://www.cyberbee.com] for more curriculum ideas,
research tools, and activities to use with your students and staff.
Linda Joseph is the author of Net Curriculum: An Educator's Guide
to Using the Internet, published by CyberAge Books. The recipient of numerous
awards, in addition to her work in the Columbus Public Schools and the Library
of Congress, Linda is a parttime instructor for Ohio State University. Communications
to the author may be addressed to her at Columbus Public Schools, 737 East Hudson
Street, Columbus, OH 43211; 614/3655277; ljoseph@iwaynet.net.
