Seeing is Believing?

“Proofs Without Words” are proofs based on a visual representation of a theorem which provides a convincing argument about its validity without the need for any accompanying text. The genre has been much enriched by the increased availability of computer animation. This is of course relevant to math education: many of the concepts we teach can be illustrated visually, including with… Continue reading Seeing is Believing?

Tiling in GeoGebra

In my last two posts, I promoted the idea of using tiling (tessellation) as an interesting context in geometry class, especially for the introduction of some basic ideas of transformational geometry. One reason this works is the connection with art, including the abstract patterns in Islamic art and the mind-bending creations of M.C. Escher.  John Golden is a connoisseur of… Continue reading Tiling in GeoGebra

Virtual Manipulatives: Part 2

In the previous post, I discussed virtual manipulatives in general, and a particular implementation for algebra, using a Google Drawings representation of the Lab Gear. In this post, I will explore GeoGebra as a platform for virtual manipulatives. Pattern Blocks Virtual pattern blocks are not hard to find on the Web. One good implementation is on the Math… Continue reading Virtual Manipulatives: Part 2

Virtual Manipulatives: Part 1

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

User-Controlled GeoGebra Animation

Here is an animation I created in GeoGebra: As far as I can tell, WordPress only shows you the animation once, when you open this post. You can find the actual .ggb file, and an interactive applet in your browser here. (Links to related transformations applets are on this page.) The idea was to illustrate reflection in… Continue reading User-Controlled GeoGebra Animation

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

Freakonomics Radio on Math Curriculum

Every now and then, an academic decides they’re qualified to fundamentally rethink math education, and to share their brilliant solution with the world. That is already problematic when the academic is a mathematician or a math education researcher, but it is even worse when it is someone whose only connection to K-12 math education is that… Continue reading Freakonomics Radio on Math Curriculum