Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Links (at Lots of Levels)

I have 12 tabs open in Firefox right now, all things I want to remember to follow up. Maybe if I put a few links here, I can close some of those tabs...

  • I think I posted before about this. Gwen Dewar writes:
    This preschool math game was designed by researchers who wanted to know if a board game could help kids develop their number sense (Ramani and Siegler 2008). The premise? That a game featuring sequentially-numbered spaces would help preschoolers learn about the number line and about the relative magnitude of numbers. The game was very effective. After only 4 game sessions totaling less than 80 minutes, kids made substantial, lasting improvements in the areas of mathematical knowledge mentioned above.
    She describes how you can make the same game yourself. Instead of making a spinner (as she suggests), you could modify a die to have 3 ones and 3 twos on it. I found this older article when I was reading her current article on good educational toys. It hadn't occurred to me how cool digital cameras might be for kids.


High School.
  • The New York Times has an intriguing article about 8 high school students who were allowed to form their own mini-school within the school, which they called the Independent Project.

  • Keith Nabb wrote an article I like, but it's hidden in a password protected site. I'm asking if I can post it here. Meanwhile, check out these animations he has for his Algebra, Trig, and Calc courses.
  • A student of mine in Beginning Algebra is struggling with negative numbers. I liked this article, and plan to send her a link to it.
  • In my Intermediate Algebra class, we'll be starting roots tomorrow. This article is at a higher level than most of them will want, but I think I can share a bit of this issue with my students. How do we pick which square root is the principal root?

    • Research on teaching (versus pseudoteaching) and learning.
    • In the 26th comment on Dan Meyer's WCYDWT: Storytelling post, Kathy Sierra wrote:
      Why they don’t teach screenwriting techniques to teachers is beyond me. We used to make all the authors in our tech book series read the screenwriting book Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder, and build storyboards for each topic using that simplified framework. It’s not an answer to bad teaching, but it’s a way of structuring a lesson that feels more like a hero’s journey for the learner...  [I want that book.]
      Math In Use.
      • How many representatives should each European Union member country get? Mathematicians studied this question. One of the criteria was that the final 'formula' be easy for everyone to understand. They settled on something pretty simple, but there are lots of little twists. (And one big hurdle: Some countries would lose representatives. Can the other countries get those countries to agree to this?)  I have a story to tell about helping a friend design another formula, but that will have to wait until I have more time.


      1. Hi Sue, just noticed your comment about my comment from Dan's blog. This morning I sent him a link to a post about writing novels, because something in it reminded me of pseudocomtext...

        It might be a bit of a stretch, but it seems like many of the mistakes we make in teaching have a similar feeling to mistakes in developing a character in a novel/screenplay, for example:

        "But you can’t show them all at once. Let’s say you have a protagonist who is smart, well off without being filthy rich, generous towards his friends and family, but with very little tolerance for idiots and people who make poor choices. As characters go, that’s a pretty well-rounded description. There’s a lot there for you to work with in the course of your novel. But you can’t show us all this stuff at once. It’s just too much.

        I suppose you could create some kind of bizarre, tortured scene in which all of these come into play, but I doubt it would feel natural. You have to spread it out over several scenes, letting each scene touch on one or maybe two personality features, until we have the whole picture. Further, let these scenes be natural to the story, ones that arise in clear relationship to the plot, so they don’t stick out like sore thumbs. The last thing you want is readers thinking to themselves “Ah, this seemingly irrelevant scene must exist in order to show the guy’s generosity.”

        I couldn't help but think of how we try to show all of a topic/feature's attributes, even if we must create a "seemingly irrelevant scene" in order to do so. Only in teaching, sometimes the word "seemingly" does not apply. (hence the pseudo context reminder)

        Anyway, I am happy to discover your blog!

      2. Dear Mrs. Van Hattum,
        I agree with your thoughts about the math book and author. I should really get that because sometimes I have trouble figuring hard problems out. I think it was great that you could work the problem out the way you did. It was very creative. I really like the tessellation example you put on this blog. I like art, and that is really neat and colorful. The odd shapes is the part that really amazed me. How it's put together is really cool. I'm glad I could share my thoughts with you. Have a great day.

      3. @Kathy, your comment got stuck in the spam filter. I just now found it.

        I'd like to think about your idea in relation to teaching...


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