Math teacher looking for modeling tool

  • #26
Chris Hillman
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Python is popular in the linux world. By the way, there are some eduware live CD demos out there somewhere, some of which might be of interest to high school students.

Speaking of highly visual subjects which are (if I am not mistaken) taught at high school level in France and some Asian countries, I'd really really like to see linear algebra and solid/spherical/hyperbolig trig done in American high schools.
 
  • #27
robphy
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The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of visual techniques for teaching math. We are a very visually oriented species. It is our primary sense, and massive portions of our brains are dedicated to interpreting imagery.
I like to use visual techniques to teach physics, as well.
In many examples, I find that a geometrical argument is a little more tangible, compared to a purely algebraic one.... for example, teaching relativity.
 
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  • #28
Chris Hillman
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The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of visual techniques for teaching math. We are a very visually oriented species. It is our primary sense, and massive portions of our brains are dedicated to interpreting imagery.
Sometimes a table of mathematicians* discuss styles of mathematics, and someone often recalls Lagrange's boast that he had no need of figures in writing his Mecanique Celeste. A poll then reveals that almost everyone at the table admits to thinking visually :wink: I know I do.

Rob, have you seen Ludvigsen, General Relativity? Features some nice stuff on connecting vectors and Lie dragging. Short and sweet, good choice of material given the length of the book, e.g. features Raychaudhuri equation (both for timelike and null congruences).

*I think I just discovered the collective noun for "mathematicans" :smile:
 
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  • #29
I want to thank all of you for your great suggestions.

My original degree is in Physics, so the idea of using physical - hands on learning is very intuitive for me. It is kind of like doing a lab in math class.

The geometry of what we are doing is also interesting. The fact that every time you square something (x+4)^2 is actually a square, starts to mean something to the kids.

"Oh, that is why you call it 2 squared! That makes sense now!" is a statement I hear when working with these tiles.

And we only work with them for a couple of days in each chapter. It builds the physical, visual knowledge so that when we have problems that can not be done, they have the idea and steps and skills to do all problems.

Again, thank you all! I will be checking out Python and Java and Ruby today. (although it seems like Ruby and Python are at the top and I will do those 2 first.)
 
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