Henri Picciotto's

Math Education Newsletter

November 2013

Summer Workshops

Recent Blog Posts

Here are links to posts on my Math Education Blog that you might find interesting.
If you are so moved, you may comment on the posts, and/or subscribe to the blog.

Heterogeneous Classes

As everybody knows, students in the same class learn math at different rates. While some students need constant forward motion, others need extended exposure. What can be done about this? I wrote three posts on how to address the challenge of heterogeneous classes by meeting both needs at the same time:
Extending Exposure
One should separate related topics!
Lagging homework

Interactive Geometry Software

I recently started to use the GeoGebra interactive geometry software, for reasons I outline here. In that post, I link to a few pages and files on my Math Education Web site that I have updated to use GeoGebra.

I've also created a bunch of GeoGebra files for:
Function diagrams. Read about those here and here.
Parabolas and quadratics.

Straightedge and Compass


I love geometric construction challenges, but I don't love actual compasses. I address this apparent contradiction in this post. You will not be surprised to learn that I enjoy meeting such challenges on the computer, using interactive geometry software. The post also includes links to a couple of sites where you can use a virtual compass and straightedge without taking on the full array of tools that are available in GeoGebra et al.

Speaking of geometric construction challenges, see "Unexpected Ratio" for an extremely straightforward way to construct the golden ratio, and thus a pentagram.

Math and Art

What happens when a young artist teaches math? Well, in one case I know of, good things! Read about it here.

Common Core

I recently took a very close look at the Common Core State Standards for high school, trying to picture how I would implement them if I hadn't recently retired from the classroom. I learned a lot from this exercise, and hope to write it all up before the new year, so watch my blog.

In the meantime, I have responded to the CCSS emphasis on transformational geometry with this post, and with a new page on my site.


I created four mostly wordless worksheets based on pie charts: Angles, Fractions, Minutes, and Percents. I had the idea that using that same representation to illustrate four different concepts was the germ of a great piece of curriculum, and I invited teachers and students to submit ideas on what to do with the worksheets. As of now, the response has been pretty thin, so I guess I'll have to do it myself! Or perhaps you will contribute your ideas? Do it here.

Asilomar Talk

I will be speaking at the CMC-North conference in Asilomar, CA, on December 7, 2013. The talk is at 3:30 pm, in Room 39 at Pacific Grove Middle School. The topic is Function Diagrams.

Level: Grades 7-12

Description: An encyclopedic introduction to function diagrams and their pedagogical applications to arithmetic, basic algebra, dynamical systems, and calculus. Much of this illustrated with the help of GeoGebra.

Summer Workshops

As I do every summer, I will offer workshops for math teachers at the Urban School of San Francisco, under the auspices of the Center for Innovative Teaching.

Hands-On Geometry will include activities with manipulatives and GeoGebra, an in-depth introduction to transformational geometry, and an authentic approach to proof.

No Limits will include a selection of Algebra 2 and Precalculus topics, including some advanced work on transformational geometry.

I will announce the dates and other specifics in this newsletter, on my blog, and on my Web site in early January, or hopefully sooner.

I am also hoping to offer my Visual Algebra workshop in another location. If you are part of an institution that would like to host this, please get in touch!

Thanks for reading.


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