Highly interactive mathematics activities for students and educators.
Type of Material:
The learning objects present the ?big ideas? in algebra through calculus. Simulations, animations, and guided discovery are used. Worksheets contain questions pertinent to the development of the mathematics content. The lessons are presented in a variety of formats: ? Lab Version -- Focusing on the networked-computer classroom ? Lecture Version -- For use with a single computer and overhead projector? Worksheet -- For student assignments using the activity
Users must have the Shockwave plug-in. Download capability is provided at http://www.exploremath.com/about/shockerhelp.cfm . Note: At first Shockwave didn?t work on this reviewer?s Netscape? Communicator 4.61 browser. One reviewer sent a notice to ExploreMath.com and received a reply in less than 24 hours (from Raman Pfaff) that indicated what the problem was. (?I would bet that you have different versions of the Shockwave Plug-in on your two browsers. When you install the plug-in it asks you which browser you want to install it on, and it seems as if you installed in to the IE 5.5 and not the NS 4.6. ?Shockwave can be downloaded from http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download ? further questions feel free to drop me a line.?) ExploreMath.com employees are prompt in responding (based on this situation and one other of a non-technical nature). It worked perfectly for the reviewer on her Netscape 4.6 browser after she followed that guidance.Members must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in to view the lesson plans. A link is provided for this PDF-format reader.Users must register for a free ExploreMath account.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The ExploreMath.com Team believes the real power of the Internet lies in its ability to bring educators and students together in ways that both meet instructional needs and harness our collective creativity.Secondary school mathematics teachers and future secondary school mathematics teachers can use the lesson plans for strategies to introduce multimedia activities into the mathematics classroom,
laboratory, or distance learning curricula.These inservice and preservice teachers can use ExploreMath.com?s mathematics activities, home pages for courses, and monthly newsletters containing teaching ideas.The mathematics educators can also share teaching ideas and communicate with each other in ExploreMath.com?s discussion forum.
Target Student Population:
The focus is for practicing teachers and their students, but this resource is also valuable in preservice education for demonstrating or supplementing mathematics lessons. It is a good example of the wise integration of technology for an audience who has access to the Internet (with the required plug-ins).
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The material is aimed at learning algebra concepts, skills, and procedures through calculus concepts, skills, and procedures. The individuals using the materials must have the fundamental understanding of functions. Persons using the interactive web pages will need to be comfortable with the technology of using multimedia lessons and examples and downloading software.
These lessons are superb applications of the wise uses of technology to facilitate the understanding of mathematical concepts. Brian Sharp (University of Virginia) has contributed most of the mathematics lesson plans. He has identified the characteristics of the functions and relationships being studied and ?magically? presented scenarios in which the students can change the variables to study the outcomes. This site provides preservice and inservice teachers with a variety of ways to present the mathematical concepts, principles, and applications to students.
The user will want to explore all links in this website thoroughly to locate all resources and information available.
Also, since the reviewers first accessed these resources ExploreMath.com has added another feature. Mathematics in the News consists of articles culled from online media sources around the world that focus on mathematics in the news.
ExploreMath.com would be well served if it would hire more proofreaders who could identify minor inconsistencies (Unit Circle Lesson Plan, Question 3i, ?x-intercepts and Y-intercept?) so they would not distract from the perception that these lesson plans are valuable resources. A few links were not working. (Maximize Area Lesson Plan, ??see the lecture version of this lesson.?)
There is a great deal of information here and students (and teachers) need to be guided through the website. Much content is accessible directly, but students (and teachers) need to log in to have complete access.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The simulations are first-rate, and so is the depth of the lesson plans; i.e., the worksheets, lecture notes, etc. This site is valuable to both teachers and students. Teachers who are ?rusty? could use this site to review concepts,
procedures, applications, and skills they once knew, and need to periodically refresh their understandings. Teachers can also use this to help present the topics in a variety of ways. Students can use this site for first confronting new concepts, procedures, applications, and skills. Once students of mathematics grasp these topics, they can use these learning objects to solidify their understandings of those topics.
ExploreMath.com has excellent graphical illustrations of frequently used models for teaching important mathematical concepts.
No wonder ExploreMath.com received a Webby Award (135 international websites selected as the ultimate bookmark of the Internet for this year). It is an outstanding resource.
General Comments: Two suggestions for enhancing this site would be to add a
1.glossary of terms associated with understanding the mathematical concepts, principles, applications, and skills presented in these lesson plans.
2.list of objectives that the student will be able to demonstrate to show achievement of the understanding of each topic.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to navigate and to find required information. The website is very rich with good examples. The ability to change the values of the independent variable and observe the resulting changes in the dependent variable is invaluable.
Not all links are available from all pages. The user should be careful not to use this as a stand-alone lesson plan. The teacher must provide guided instruction in order to realize the full potential for these learning objects
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