Math Pilot

Goals

Many of the topics we teach in geometry come alive with the motion provided by the Geometer Sketchpad (GSP).   For example, our unit on transformational geometry includes reflections, translations, rotations and dilations. With GSP, we can take our basic skills and create sketches that move in front of our eyes and reinforce the concepts. 

Part of the goal of GSP activities is the exploration of concepts, and ultimately coming to solid conclusions based on observations that inspire or confirm the definitions and theorems we have learned

Another goal is increased confidence and competence in using the software, saving files on the network, emailing files, annotating diagrams

Our final project in this unit is to build a kaleidoscope in GSP.  The project requires students to bring together all their skills as well as their artistic side.

GSP also connects algebra and calculus concepts with geometry.


Results
  • We have been able to cover about two weeks more curriculum this year than last year, including explorations of some concepts that would have been impossible without dynamic geometry software.
  • Students constructed their own diagrams to prove things on their own.
  • Observed a lot of connections being made from the formulas learned to the different ways that they could come to life. Many mistakes lead to breakthroughs
  • Easily tested hypotheses using the dynamic measuring features of GSP. This lead to writing a list of “official” ways to prove parallelograms. Students not only came to understand the “official” list, but were able to test other theories and found them insufficient. This gave students ownership over the material, reinforcing that the traditional theorems and methods came from a scientific process of brainstorming, conjecturing, testing, modifying, and debating.
  • Flexibility to explore student generated ideas and conjectures, on the spot through the use of GSP.
  • GSP fostered creation of theories to explore by students because it was available to test out the theory.
  • Comparison of the results of this years' midyear exam results with last years' exam results does not show any statistical difference in scores.
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Mary Barber,
May 18, 2011, 2:04 PM
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Mary Barber,
May 18, 2011, 7:58 PM
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