Write Angles

August 16, 2006

Google’s Built in Calculator

Filed under: Calculators,Free Resources,Online Activities — Damon @ 2:33 pm

I just discovered, at Web 2.0 from Russia, that Google has a built in calculator!  Go to Google and search for sqrt(-4).  It even seems to give the correct answers, so far.  If you really wanted to search for documents containing sqrt(-4) then search for +sqrt(-4).  You can also do unit conversions and calculate currency exchange rates.

Here are instructions on correct syntax as well as another 3^2 examples.  Now I just need to figure out how to best use this feature in the classroom.

Note:  It doesn’t do as well with undefined terms such as 0/0 or 0^0.

Site Review: National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

This is an incredible site hiding behind a rather boring, scientific sounding name.

NLVM is an NSF supported project and is operated at Utah State University. They have created 100’s of interactive Java applets which can help students experience various concepts rather than simply takes notes. As they say on the Information Page: “Mathematics is not . . . a spectator sport.”

The activities are organized by grade level and category. The five categories include Number + Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis + Probability.

counterfeit-coins-small.jpgMy favorite involves a classic puzzle. You are given eight coins and a beam balance. You have to find the “counterfeit” coin knowing its weight is different than the others. You can use the balance twice and the computer even keeps track of wrong guesses. Of course I had to try all four difficulty levels!

Other activities include an Abacus, Mastermind, Fractals, etc.

There are also eModules and lesson plans at eNLVM. The site is also available in Spanish.

They have even included instructions on getting help if the Javascript is not working on your browser. I’ve seen MANY sites where something doesn’t work. This is the FIRST math site I’ve seen that offers to help you fix it. (I did manage to freeze up Firefox running 3 Java applets simultaneously in different tabs.)

Overall Grade = A+

August 14, 2006

Lists for Math Teachers and Other Educators

Filed under: Problogger,Reader Feedback,Writing Assignments — Damon @ 7:16 pm

Darren at Problogger periodically gives writing assignments to his readers. This week’s assignment is to create a list. I personally like lists because it is an easy way to organize information. Lists are also useful to readers since they can visually scan the list to see if there is anything interesting.

I actually have a number of lists I’m working on and others I’ve been thinking about. Some are specifically related to teaching math. Others relate to education in general. I’ve decided to let my readers, both of you, help me decide which ones to post first. So I’ve decided to list my lists.

The following are lists that might be useful for a math teacher, home-schooler, parent or student. After reading the list please leave a comment and tell me which items you would like to see first. Also let me know if you have a different idea for a list.

1. Free online resources for math teachers. Okay this one may be a little obvious and should, perhaps, be narrowed down a little.

2. Movies you can watch in math class. There are a lot of appropriate movies for other subjects. Why not math?

3. How to get an A in math.

4. Best SAT prep materials.

5. Online sources of downloadable busywork worksheets.

6. Best puzzle sites.

7. Math teacher blogs.

8. Best comprehensive sites for math teachers.

9. Top 10 Reasons to Learn Math, as written by incoming Juniors.

10. Ways to tell what your student or child was doing on the computer before you walked into the room.

So please leave your comments about what you would like to see in a math teacher blog. (I will definitely consider them before doing what I want to anyway.)

Site Maintenance

Filed under: Site Maintenance — Damon @ 4:28 am

I found a template I like at WordPress.com. I may hire a former student to create some different graphics for the header. So don’t be alarmed if it changes suddenly. You’re still at Mr. Hedman’s wonderful weblog.

I also transferred a number of posts from my earlier blogs. Everything dated earlier than August 13, 2006 came from one of the other blogs. I have also updated the post categories to make more sense.

However, I did not fix all of the links to refer back to this blog. (Transferring the posts took a lot longer than I expected.) So don’t be surprised if a link takes you to Bored of Education.

New School Year, New Blog

Filed under: Writing Math,Writing Project — Damon @ 12:10 am

This year our English teacher attended the Writing Project in Long Beach.  I foolishly offered to help teach writing in my math class.

This is a new area for me!

Since I will be making my students write, I thought it would be appropriate to write about my own experiences during the school year, hence the title this blog.

I will, of course, discuss other things related to teaching math and education in general.  I may also post the occasional humorous anecdote.

Feel free to post any comments or questions.

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