Learning Tools In 1981, after ten years in K-5, I switched to teaching high school math. In some ways, this felt like starting a whole new career: the math was more involved, the relationship with students less like parenting, and tradition weighed a lot more heavily on the profession. Still, in other ways, teaching is… Continue reading Virtual Manipulatives: Part 1

# Tag: Manipulatives

## Sum and Difference of Cubes

Teaching the factoring of the sum of cubes and difference of cubes was not a priority for me in my teaching, and the topic does not seem to be part of the Common Core Standards. However, some people do have to include it in their classes, and as a result the subject occasionally comes up… Continue reading Sum and Difference of Cubes

## Wallpaper Symmetry Part 2

This post is a continuation of Wallpaper Symmetry Part 1, which you should read first. Both posts are companions to the Wallpapers Catalog on my website. --------------------------------------------------------------------- A long time ago, in my twenties, I attended a lecture about the mathematics of wallpaper designs. The presenter gave an overview of the entire proof that there are only… Continue reading Wallpaper Symmetry Part 2

## Wallpaper Symmetry Part I

While sheltering in place, I decided to use some of my time to complete a project I had been contemplating for a long time: creating a catalog of the 17 wallpaper groups using pattern blocks. It is now live on my website: Wallpapers Catalog. The idea is to provide a bridge between schools, where pattern… Continue reading Wallpaper Symmetry Part I

## Asilomar Report: Conic Sections

As my retirement starts to kick in, I no longer attend conferences — except for one: the annual meeting of the California Math Council (Northern Section.) Once again, I had a great day at Asilomar, a beautiful spot near Monterey, right on the Pacific Ocean. Here is my annual report. Conic Sections Figuring out an approach to… Continue reading Asilomar Report: Conic Sections

## Learning from Teaching (cont.)

For the second time this summer, I taught a version of my Visual Algebra workshop, this time as part of a summer institute at the Atrium School near Boston. (Earlier in the summer, I did this at Synapse School, in Silicon Valley, and wrote about it here.) Once again, I walked away from the workshop… Continue reading Learning from Teaching (cont.)

## Geometric Puzzles at Asilomar

I'll be presenting a session on Geometric Puzzles at the Asilomar meeting of the California Math Council. (Saturday, Dec 2, Sanderling, 1:30pm The printed program says I'm in the middle school, but that is not correct. The app has the location right.). I will include material that I believe is relevant to teachers from kindergarten… Continue reading Geometric Puzzles at Asilomar

## Puzzles for the Classroom

In my last post, I shared some generalities about puzzle creation. Today, I will zero in on the specifics of creating puzzles for the mathematics classroom. I will do this by way of analyzing some examples. Multiple PathsA characteristic of all classrooms is that they are constituted of students whose backgrounds and talents vary widely. … Continue reading Puzzles for the Classroom

## Stumped by Euclidea

I've really enjoyed solving the puzzles in Euclidea, a brilliantly designed app for iOS and Android. The basic format is "given this, construct that". You start with just two tools: a straightedge and a slack compass (i.e. a compass that does not remember the radius it was last set to). As you find useful and… Continue reading Stumped by Euclidea

## More on Geometric Construction

(To search from previous posts on this topic, use the Search box on the right.) I suspect that by far the most common introduction to geometric construction in US classrooms is a presentation by the teacher (or textbook) on various compass and straightedge construction techniques. "This is how you construct a perpendicular bisector. This is… Continue reading More on Geometric Construction