EMT 468

Computers in Mathematics Education, Spring Quarter, 1997.

April 1 - June 6
2:20 - 4:15 Tues., Thurs., and certain Fridays
Final Exam Schedule: Tuesday, June 10, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Instructors: John Olive, 110E Aderhold Hall, 542-4557

Mark Freitag, 105C Aderhold Hall, 542-4537

Office hours: John: 10:00 - 12:00 Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment
Under our new program guidelines, students should enroll concurrently in EMT 468 and EMT 335. If you are not already enrolled in EMT 335, discuss this situation with John Olive and Debbie Gober. The two courses will be coordinated so that activities in one complement activities of the other.

Course Description.

(Borrowed freely from Dr. James W. Wilson's course description)

This course will concentrate on using various software applications to solve mathematics problems, to organize pedagogical demonstrations, and to set up problem explorations. The students will use application software owned by the Department of Mathematics Education and will carry out the course using primarily Macintosh computers.

The emphasis is on exploration of various mathematics contexts to learn mathematics, to pose problems and problem extensions, to solve problems, and to communicate mathematical demonstrations.


The following software will be used:

GSP is a dynamic geometric construction package with features that include construction tools, measurement tools transformation tools, and animation tools. Geometer's Sketchpad is published by Key Curriculum Press

Click here for instructions on setting up GSP as a helper application.
To see a GSP example click here. Then double-click on "Animate."

For a GSP Script example click here. When the script screen opens in GSP, open a new sketch and select two points, as instructed, to "play" the script.

Patterns formed by concentric pentagons rotating in opposite ways are shown in Pentamotion.
Algebra Xpresser is a relations grapher and symbolic algebra tool. The distinction between a relation grapher and a function grapher is an important one from both mathematical and pedagogical considerations. Excel is a second generation spreadsheet program that allows creation and manipulation of a data array and the immediate graphing of selected subsets of the array. This is a Web Browser that we shall use for exploring the World Wide Web (you are probably using it to access this page). LogoWriter is an environment for Logo programming. We shall use it to explore "Turtle Geometry" and function concepts. xFunction is a freeware program for graphing functions, displaying information on functions, and other utilities. This is a new dynamic software environment that is being developed for exploring statistics and probability. We shall be testing an Alpha version of the software. This is a Probability microworld developed in Object Logo by Dr. Zhong Hong Jiang. It is useful to be able to go from any application program to present output within a discussion and to print that discussion on the printed page. Microsoft Word 5.1 is one of several word processing programs available. Various "paint" programs provide useful drawing capabilities.

Course Requirements

There is no required textbook but students are strongly urged to purchase the Student Edition of The Geometer's Sketchpad. This will be the primary software used during this course and EMT 469. The student edition costs less than $40 and includes everything that is in the full-price individual package except for a three-ring binder! This will be the students' very own copy that they can use on their home machines or on one classroom machine when they are in schools. (It should be removed from the school machine when they leave the school.) More importantly, this will provide students with full documentation on the program and thus allow them to explore the capabilities of the software in much greater depth than any course handouts can provide. The Student Edition of the Geometer's Sketchpad can only be obtained directly from Key Curriculum Press

The class will use fully ethernet networked computers in Room 111/113. Most assignments will be given and turned in via the network. We will have access to and learn to use various network tools.

Students will need a few High Density (HD) 2 mb capacity 3.5" disks.

For those who can not resist killing off a few trees, there is a printer . . .

Electronic Portfolios

All work for this course will be kept in Electronic Portfolios. These will be saved on students' floppy disks as well as in the instructor's shared folder on his hard drive. Each week there will be challenge or follow-up investigations based on the classroom explorations. At least one of these follow-up investigations will be written up and saved in the students' electronic portfolios along with the results of the classroom explorations.

Reports on the Standards and other readings

Students will be required to write a report on how all three Standards documents provide for the use of technology in the mathematics teaching and learning enterprise. These reports will be included in their electronic portfolios and should include example activities to illustrate the recommendations. Short reflections on other assigned readings will also be included in their portfolios.

Final Project

The Final Project for this course will be the development of a teaching unit that makes use of at least one of the technological tools that students have been using in this class. This unit will be a group effort and should cover at least four lessons with students. At the midpoint of the quarter students will form into groups of four to choose a topic for their final project. The intent is to implement this project with high school students during the next quarter (as part of EMT 400).

Final Exam/Presentation

The final exam will be the presentation of the groups' Projects to the rest of the class, including class participation activities.


Grading will be based on the following criteria: Time on computers

Students can not expect to accomplish what they should from this course without time on the computers that is in addition to the time we have in class. The usual expectation of 2 hours study outside of class for every hour in class is probably a minimum. There are several Macintosh laboratories available in this building and across campus.

A note on computers

We are scheduled to hold this class in Room 111/113 with a laboratory of Macintosh Power PC 7100 computers. The Power PCs are in the family of the most advanced computers in the Macintosh Line. There are some additional Macintosh computers in Room 228, Room 615, and in the EMT office area (Rm. 105G).

In general, the application programs we will use in this class will run on any of the Macintosh computers except the oldest machines. There are distinctions such as operating systems and hard disk drives that have to be accounted for. Also, some applications require a Mathematics Coprocesser (FPU) that is standard on some machines, unavailable on some, and available as an option on others.

  • Click Here for an outline of the mathematical foci for each week of the course.

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