Category: Math by Subject

LineRider

Line Rider, in its infancy, had only one tool, the pen. With this tool, you drew your masterpiece curve (or piecewise curves), on which, the little hatted dude rides his sled. There were rules about the curves, when drawn left to right, the were riding curves, when drawn right to left, decoration… or something like that. However, the new version of LineRider has multicolored pens, an eraser tool (woo hoo) and now with the addition of the magical Jing program… I can easily record and share my masterpiece with you. If you watch my masterpiece, keep in mind that I have just nicely demonstrated two types of discontinuities in my work… removable discontinuities (the little dude just glides over the hole) and jump discontinuities (the little dude leaps from one part of the curve to another). LineRider can be an interesting and fun study in slopes for algebra students, asymptotes for pre-calculus students, and limits for calculus students. However, the true works of art are the ones created and set to music like these classic LineRiders all available on YouTube: (turn on your sound) Jagged Peak Adventure Urban Run Electronic Adventures LineRider SuperMario (okay… that one is really clever!) These are good for a 5-minute break in class… you know… for those students that refuse to get out of their seats and stretch… they might as well be entertained!...

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Dimenxian: “Learn Math or Die Trying”

This was a featured article in Distance-Educator.com What is it? It’s an algebra game produced by Tabula Digita called Dimenxian. You can download a demo of the game on the Dimenxian website. They also provide a list of alignments to NCTM Standards for Algebra with the game. For the record, the website says there is a trailer for the game… but I can’t get it to work, so if someone else figures it out, please comment on how to do it. I have downloaded the demo and tried the first “mission” … but I think I need more practice moving around and navigating in the game. From my five minutes of trial, it seems 90% game and 10% algebra, but perhaps that’s just because I’m not good at it yet. I’ve got some time trapped in airports this weekend, so I’ll give it another go and see if I can’t find more algebra in it. The game also does not encompass all of the topics we teach in algebra (really, it seems to focus on topics related to graphing). But it does engage the students and they learn algebra (read the article, research on middle school students). However, I’ve been saying for a while now that college textbooks are only a few years from becoming multimedia experiences first, and books second (or not at all)… here is my evidence...

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Links to Calculus Flash Videos

A few people asked if I would create links to some of my Calculus videos. I use a variety of software to produce the videos… Camtasia, SnagIt, TI-SmartView, the Internet, Wolfram Demonstrations, PowerPoint, and whatever else happens to be helpful at the time. I’ve selected three of them (pretty much at random) for you to see. Please keep in mind that these are not “professionally produced” … I do not have time to go back and edit a word if I misspeak (although I could with the software I use, I just don’t have time… it’s hard keeping up with online calculus). These video lessons are my version of what takes place in the classroom, and just like on a whiteboard, I may occasionally make a mistake and correct it… well, hopefully I correct it! 🙂 Using Secant Slopes Limits and Vertical Asymptotes The Falling Lexus Example Before you watch the Falling Lexus Example, you ought to watch the “Falling Lexus Commercial.” The files are all zipped. When you unzip the file, choose the LARGEST file (the swf file) to run. You will need to have a Flash Player downloaded to watch. [Update 5/6/12: My videos are now all loaded on Screencast.com, recorded live with a Tablet PC, and produced with Camtasia Studio as an MP4.  I’m leaving this post here for perspective.] Possibly Related Posts: ESIL: A Learning...

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The power of a good video (Mobius Transformations)

I remember never really “getting” mobius transformations when I took complex analysis. I could perform the mathematics, but what, really, was I doing? This elegant video (thanks to Karen for the link) reveals the Mobius transformations in a way that is so simple and elegant, it is truly remarkable. I will show it to my intermediate algebra class when we get to complex numbers simply because it is an application of complex numbers that they can at least see visually. You’ll probably want to make the video full screen, and there is nice music to accompany the text and transformations, so turn up your volume! Follow the link to the Science Friday file and scroll down to the Mobius Transformations Revealed. If you visit the website where Arnold and Rogness host this video, they have a downloadable version, in case your classroom does not have Internet. Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in Math Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Elaborations for Creative Thinking in...

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Math Games at Interactivate

I stumbled across a nice website last week called Interactivate with 140 (or so) interactive Java-based activities for algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, etc. Many of the activities are modifications of other activities, but still there are at least 30 unique game-based activities here to help your students learn. I particularly liked “Algebra Four” (a play on the game Connect Four). I am teaching my algebra students all about solving equations right now and this would give them some good practice. The student can choose the level of difficulty (one-step, two-step, distributive, etc.). So conceivably, a student could first play at the one-step level, then the two-step level, then add the distributive property, and work their way up. This is a two-player game, which is really the only drawback, as a student at home would have to play against themself (or convince someone else to play an algebra game with them… hmm… unlikely). I do like the timer, which would encourage the student to get faster at solving equations. And if a student doesn’t want to play against the timer, it could just be set for a high time. Another nice game here is the “function machine” like we’ve seen in textbooks, only this one is really a machine where you (or the student) inputs values, and it (the machine) processes the values and outputs them. The “game” here is...

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