Reading Algebra

Symbol sense is an essential part of mathematical literacy. It is the understanding that undergirds effective symbol manipulation, and perhaps more basically the ability to interpret and create algebraic expressions. Symbol sense, like number sense and operation sense, is not learned so much through listening to a teacher. Rather, it grows as one gets practice… Continue reading Reading Algebra


In between June 27 and August 4, 2016, I presented seven to ten workshops (depending on how you count) ranging from a couple of hours to four days. I share most of the handouts, resources, and slides on my Summer Workshops site. (See below my signature for more details on what's there.)The site will remain… Continue reading Eclectic

Visual Algebra

I will be teaching two instances of my Visual Algebra workshop this summer: grades 7-11, June 27-30, in Oakland; and grades 6-9, July 25-27, in Saint Louis. (More info). This is probably the topic I have presented the most often in the last 25 years.To many students, not to mention teachers, parents, and administrators, algebra… Continue reading Visual Algebra

Animated Demonstrations

New on my Web site:→ Animated slides on the Lab Gear model for signed number arithmetic.Note that for each operation, the model is based on what students already know. For addition, you put down the first number, then the second number, and finally count. For subtraction, you put down the first number, take away the… Continue reading Animated Demonstrations

Pattern Blocks on Pi Day

I'll be offering a workshop for middle school and high school teachers on March 14 at the American Institute for Mathematics in San Jose. My topic is pattern blocks:<img alt="" height="76" src="data: Pattern blocks are ubiquitous in elementary schools, but they're not commonly seen in middle school or high school. Yet, they do offer plenty of… Continue reading Pattern Blocks on Pi Day

Summer Workshops, 2015

I'll be teaching four workshops this summer, in two new locations: Seattle, and Waltham, MA (which is a half-hour West of Boston.) If you've meant to attend my workshops in the past, but couldn't make it to San Francisco, New York, or DC, perhaps these venues are more convenient for you? There will be no… Continue reading Summer Workshops, 2015

Pythagorean Proofs

I just added a second dynamic geometry proof of the Pythagorean theorem on my Web site.Both are proofs "without words", which in reality means that you should use them to generate discussion. Indeed, many words are needed for students to fully grasp what they see, but the words should not come exclusively from the teacher.… Continue reading Pythagorean Proofs

Proportional Relationships

One good thing about the Common Core middle school standards is the emphasis on proportional relationships, and the fact that they are approached in a multidimensional way. In addition to "set up a proportion and solve it", which is probably the most common way to teach this, the standards propose multiple representations and a variety… Continue reading Proportional Relationships