Category Archives: Educational Technology

The Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem

According to Wikipedia, the Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem, named after mathematician and philosopher Luitzen Brouwer, states that "for any continuous function f mapping a compact convex set into itself, there is a point x0 such that f(x0) = x0. This is a deep theorem,  but one aspect of it is lovely, surprising, and entirely approachable by high-school geometry … Continue Reading ››

Danny’s Ellipse

In the early 1990s, Danny Vizcaino, a high school student at Monte Vista High School in California, wrote to Key Curriculum Press noting that Sketchpad did not come with a tool to draw an oval. Undaunted by this omission, Danny had built his own oval with the software and shared it with Key's editors. As shown in the interactive … Continue Reading ››

Logic Puzzles Made Visual

When I was child, I loved to solve the brainteasers in logic puzzle magazines. You probably know the type: Ruth, Phyllis, and Joan each bought a different kind of fruit (orange, apple, pear) and a different vegetable (spinach, kale, carrots) at the supermarket. No one bought both an orange and carrots. Ruth didn't buy an apple or kale.Continue Reading ››

The Flying Squirrel-Frog Puzzle

While I enjoy reading The New York Times for its news coverage, I especially look forward to each Monday when they post a new math puzzle online in their Numberplay column. Several months ago, I shared a Numberplay puzzle from former Key Curriculum editor Dan Bennett. Now I'd like to recap the Numberplay puzzle … Continue Reading ››

From Two Dimensions to One

In my last post, I provided some dilation challenges and linked to a Dilation Function Family activity. In that activity students manipulate independent and dependent variables, observe their relative rate of change, restrict the domain, and use meaningful function notation. This and similar activities involving “technologically embodied geometric functions” … Continue Reading ››

Covering Your Bases: An Interactive Dials Model

There are certain topics in mathematics education not appropriate for polite discussion. Number bases other than 10 fit this category well, perhaps because of their association with the maligned "new math" of the 1960s. That's a shame because there is a lot to learn from them, especially when presented as interactive puzzles. Below are eight dials, each with … Continue Reading ››

Dilation Challenges

For a while now, I’ve been intrigued by the ways in which the study of geometric transformations can provide students with a very effective introduction to function concepts. Daniel and I have written a couple of articles about this topic, and we created a number of activities to take advantage of what can arguably be … Continue Reading ››

Soccer Challenges: Angling for a Shot on Goal

With the World Cup in our hemisphere, and the US squad having started out with a win over Ghana, my thoughts turned to the mathematics of soccer. My friend Henri Picciotto has a nice page about the shooting angle, the angle within which a shot is on goal, so I thought of using … Continue Reading ››

Sketchpad Explorer Featured in Mathematics Teacher

The May issue of Mathematics Teacher (MT) has a Technology Tips article on High-Leverage iPad Apps for the Mathematics Classroom by Ayanna Perry, Emily Thrasher, and HollyLynne Lee of North Carolina State University. They explain how to transfer files to student tablets, and they make a number of recommendations … Continue Reading ››

Playing with Triangular Decompositions

Guest blogger Juan Camilo Acevedo is part of the University of Chicago's Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE) digital team, where he develops Sketchpad-based activities for Everyday Mathematics. Currently, he teaches undergraduate language classes at the University of Chicago and is writing his doctoral dissertation on Digital Humanities. Juan holds a BA in … Continue Reading ››