An elegant, responsive and versatile theme with a power-packed set of options and semantic HTML5-based markup. It supports Mega-Menus, custom layout templates, advanced support for custom post types, customizable drop-down menus, featured sliders, tabbed sidebars, a magazine layout and lots of enhanced widgets for Twitter, Flickr, Google etc. It has 19 widget areas, one-column, two-column and three-column responsive, fixed-width and flexible-width layouts, 9 pre-defined templates and 19 pre-defined color schemes. Responsive capabilities are switched on by a single click. RTL support is built-in and translations in many languages are available. Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies are integrated. Compatibility packs for BuddyPress, bbPress, Jigoshop and WooCommerce are available as plugins for smooth integration. Support forum at http://www.aquoid.com/forum.
I came across a terrific website today, http://www.openculture.com/ and spent quite a bit of time there. This is a treasure trove of materials for educators and lovers of knowledge. This post serves as an introduction to the site, giving its Mission Statement and the background of its lead editor. From the website:
What is Open Culture’s Mission?
Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.
Who is Behind Open Culture?
Dan Colman, the lead editor, is the Director & Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. Before that, he served as the Managing Director of AllLearn, an e-learning consortium owned by Stanford, Oxford and Yale, and as the Director of Business Development and Editorial Manager at About.com. He received his PhD and MA from Stanford, and his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The common thread running through his career is his interest in bringing relevant, perspective-changing information to large audiences, often with the help of the internet. Get his full bio here. You can reach Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The site offers many free books, courses, and videos for educators and students. I hope you enjoy your visit there as much as I did!
This is taken from an essay by Phil Daro, William McCallum, and Jason Zimba, February 16, 2012
“You have just purchased an expensive Grecian urn and asked the dealer to ship it to your house. He picks up a hammer, shatters it into pieces, and explains that he will send one piece a day in an envelope for the next year. You object; he says “don’t worry, I’ll make sure that you get every single piece, and the markings are clear, so you’ll be able to glue them all back together. I’ve got it covered.” Absurd, no? But this is the way many school systems require teachers to deliver mathematics to their students; one piece (i.e. one standard) at a time. They promise their customers (the taxpayers) that by the end of the year they will have “covered” the standards.”
The full essay can be found here. It’s a good read and does a nice job explaining where we are, and where we’re heading in math teaching.
Many (most?) teachers present material straight from the book, and may not realize how this method fragments the material that is already challenging for students. If there is an overarching theme and approach to the methodology of teaching mathematics, more students would probably understand and succeed at mathematics better. Here’s hoping . . .
NOTE: The following post, with modifications, was submitted to the California Math Council ComMuniCator for the June 2012 issue with the title: “GeoGebra Promotes Equity in the Mathematics Classroom.“
I had been looking several years for good classroom mathematical modeling software; when I discovered GeoGebra, it was an memorable day. I sat with a laptop in my recliner and didn’t get up for three hours, just playing and exploring. Whatever I asked GeoGebra to do, it did with ease and precision. Since then I’ve used GeoGebra in all my classes, given several conference presentations and workshops for districts, and become a Resource Manager and Trainer for the California GeoGebra Institute.
GeoGebra is well suited to promote equity in the math classroom:
It is free, open-source software
No internet connection is necessary
No programming experience is needed
It is intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to use
GeoGebra has been translated into 52 languages
It can run on all platforms since it is written in Java
There is a version for new/younger learners and users
There is a worldwide network of support from a user forum
It creates multiple representations as equations, graphs, tables
It can be used from primary grades through college level courses
In spite of affordability (FREE) of this software, implementation of GeoGebra is still not widely seen. When a teacher uses a software tool, it is much more likely that students will use it. Here’s my story about introducing GeoGebra in my classroom: I started the program and let students view it using my LCD projector; then I asked a student to come up and sit at my desk. I instructed her to press certain icons to create a diagram, and within two minutes she had stopped listening to me and was running the program on her own – it’s that easy! After giving a basic introduction to the program, all my classes were then able to visit the campus computer lab and create, explore, learn, and play with the mathematics in multiple representations.
Students easily use calculators because they are familiar with the mathematics underlying the keys they press, and so I’ve been able to teach graphing calculator skills and mathematics concepts at the same time. It’s possible to do the same with GeoGebra, since there are few barriers to entry. Teachers accept and promote the use of calculators in learning many concepts in mathematics; we need to promote GeoGebra as well in a similar, but stronger fashion, since the potential for learning is much greater.
GeoGebra was designed specifically for teaching mathematics, and its rich multiple representation environment invites exploring and creating virtual models and simulations. There is a large international support system of educators and an increasing number of articles, videos, books, and ready-made materials for classroom use. Those interested in the growing STEM education and collaboration movement will find this technology to be a welcome breath of fresh educational air. To give you an idea of the popularity of this software, there were more than 7 million visits to the main GeoGebra website, www.geogebra.org, in 2011; the visitors came from 226 countries and territories.
We need to provide free and open access to powerful mathematical modeling tools and strong mathematics curricula to all students and educators without regard to age or background. My verdict: GeoGebra is a sure winner, and I strongly encourage all teachers to get comfortable with this software so their students will be better able to develop mathematical minds with this easily accessible and friendly tool. Enjoy!
KenKen is a self-motivating puzzle that builds number sense. As an added bonus, using this teaching and learning tool builds creative logical thinking and patterns of self-reliance. It also develops strong focus for an extended period of time, a necessary skill in mathematical problem solving. This article spotlights some of the prime factorization, number trees, and number combinations found in KenKen.
KenKen and Sudoku share two of the same rules, which makes an easy transition for teachers and students: numbers in each row and column must not repeat. The third rule sets KenKen apart as being more mathematical than Sudoku. In KenKen there are Cages, which are heavily outlined areas with specific numerical properties.
The most commonly used puzzles for classroom use are 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6. As with Sudoku, KenKen comes in several levels of difficulty. This allows the instructor to introduce the puzzle at the elementary level, and then gradually ramp up the challenge level as students are ready.
Here is a 6×6 KenKen from the 3-7-12 issue of the NY Times at the Medium difficulty level:
What I suggest solvers do is write the possible numbers at the top or bottom as on a number line. This gives a sense of number magnitude and provides a great help when solving.
A. Look at the 9+ cage: How many different sets of three numbers add up to nine? Hint: there is more than one way.
B. Check out the 4+ cage: How many different sets of three numbers multiply to 4? Again, there is more than one way.
C. Now let your eyes rest on a similar region, the 24+ cage, with even more possibilities. Hint: what is the prime factorization of 24, and how many ways can you make a factor tree for 24?
By looking at numerical possibilities, along with other clues from rows and columns, it’s possible to solve this KenKen by logic and reasoning alone, with no guesswork. This is the hallmark of great mathematical thinking!
Every teacher that has talked/emailed me after using KenKen with students is enthusiastic in support of this methodology. Students always look forward to doing KenKens, and it’s always a great addition to a Friday workday, or useful as extra credit. Give it a try, and you will be a hero with your students!
GeoGebra First Steps Intermediate Customization shows 5 items: point capturing, rounding to 2 decimal places, moving the graphics window, zooming in/out, and choosing your language. After viewing you will be able to customize GeoGebra to your liking, be able to use GeoGebra more easily, and also be more productive.
This is the first of a four-part series in getting started with GeoGebra. Here are links to the other parts:
is a tutorial showing the viewer how to navigate to the GeoGebra website and download this free open-source dynamic software package. Users will be introduced to the main GeoGebra site and the several ways to interact with this powerful mathematics software package.
Download and join the math playground for the mind!