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Showing posts from June, 2009

Math Teachers At Play #10

Welcome to the tenth edition of Math Teachers At Play blog carnival! Here with the heat of the summer, "less is more". We concentrate on teaching issues, but also get to "play" a bit with binary numbers, geometry, integers, and an optical illusion.

TEACHINGWhat's a math teacher going to do with Wolfram | Alpha ?

In case you haven't heard... Wolfram|Alpha is a new, computational search engine. And if you're a math teacher, you should be aware of it.

Collection of Web Freebies discusses Wolfram|Alpha as your Personal Free Online Math Assistant.

I wrote an introduction to Wolfram|Alpha as well. I feel it can both be a benefit and a drawback to math education - a benefit because it can free us from routine calculations, and a drawback because students still need to learn to do those, but how can you easily enforce that?

W|A presents a dilemma to math teachers... because it can solve SO MUCH. It can solve just about any routine type calculation in algebra 1 or …

Wolfram|Alpha is here

Wolfram|Alpha is a new, computational search engine. If you do a query where the answer has quantitative data, Wolfram|Alpha probably gives it.

For example, try enter your last name. Wolfram|Alpha gives you information about the popularity of that name. For example, "miller" ranks 6th within the US and there are about 1,128,000 people with that surname.

Enter a first name, and it will even give you a graph showing the name's popularity over the years. I just found out that Cindy's popularity peaked in about 1960. No wonder it is a common first name among the mothers who ask me questions about their children's math education.

Enter a town - for example Houston, and see what information comes up.

But, the reason I'm writing this post is because Wolfram|Alpha (or Walpha as some called it) especially excels in mathematical queries.

This has implications to mathematics education, especially in high school and college. This tool is completely free, easy to use, and acce…

Measuring worksheets

I finally got around to creating another worksheet generator that had been "lacking" for a while from my "collection" - measuring units worksheets. Those where you ask kids to convert 6 cups to ounces, or 5 kg 40 g to grams.

Measuring units worksheets

These are free and printable. I've made lots of ready-made links for some common type worksheets, but of course with the generator you can customize it how you want. Both metric and customary units are included; however I did not include all possible metric units, because the focus here is for grades 3, 4, and 5.

Integer subtraction

I recently finished another video of mine, this time on the topic of subtraction of integers. You can watch it here:

Subtracting Integers
In it, I explain three different models that we can use to justify the rules for subtracting integers to the students. The three models are:

1) number line jumps;
2) concept of difference;
3) counters.

Please read about these models in more detail in my updated article How to teach operations with integers.

Fraction games online

I updated my list of online fraction games and tutorials, and sorted the games according to major topics such as equivalent fractions, fraction addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, or fractions & decimals. Take a look!

Massachusetts teachers' math exam

Photo by Made In China

I was almost ready to comment on this exam, where only about 27% of aspiring aspiring elementary school teachers passed the new math section of the state's licensing exam this year...

Boston.com says about this test, "Education leaders said the high failure rate reflects what they feared, that too many elementary classroom and special education teachers do not have a strong background in math and are in many ways responsible for poor student achievement in the subject, even in middle and high schools."

...and then I noticed I had been looking at the wrong link for the practice test. The real link is this:
Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, Mathematics Subtest, from MTEL Practice Tests website.

I feel that test is pretty good! In fact, I'd recommend that you do some problems from it, if you're teaching any grade from 1-12. If you're teaching middle or high school, you could use some of those problems with your students, and if you&…