Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Virtual Manipulatives

Journal Entry for Wednesday July 4th 2006 is inspired by... Moyer, P, Bolyard, J & Spikell, M. Virtual Manipulatives in the K-12 Classroom. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Ideas in Mathematics Education. Queensland AU August 2001. pp. 184-187.

The Analogy I found for this article was- "Pin Ball Wizard"- The Who
The Pin ball wizard was deaf, dumb, and blind and he did very well with the steel ball. Some students flourish when they interact with real manipulatives. While this article is pro-use of virtual manipulatives I have a hard time stressing the use of virtual manipulative when they are being manipulated with a mouse or keyboard. I can see the use of virtual manipulatives being valuable if a teacher has a smart board or other way that students can interact with the image. Virtual Manip's are far from their 3D cousins but they are still usable. If a teracher is going to use them in the classroom that teacher will have to defend the use to parents and students. While many of the virtual manipulatives are valuable learning tools I'm not sure that they can be slotted into the manipulative definition for their use.

Group Discussion-
Cathy F. made this analogy about Calculators in the classroom being like Birds who find a birdfeeder. They test and keep coming back because they expect to have the feed there. Have you ever seen a bluejay who didn't have his peanuts! Students can be the same way when they find easy tools.

We were given coloured squares (yellow, green, and blue). The yellow and blue were both squares. The green was a rectangle that had one side equal to the blue square and the other green side equal to the yellow square. We were then given the equation 3xSquared + 7xy+2ySquared. We had to gather the tiles into groups according to their value. The blue squares were =x, the green were=xy, and the yellow were=y. We picked out the correct number of each tiles (so we gathered 3 blue, seven green, and 2 yellow. Then the tiles were arranged into a rectangular flag (not a difficult task). We then checked the area of the square which turned out to be (3x+y)(x+2y). It was a great visual representation of quadratic equations!

Zoombini Game- This was a cute challenge that I would love to do with my grade threes. There were ten Zoombinis with different attributes related to what they were having for lunch. Example: A Zoombini with messy hair, one eye, roller skates and a green nose would have for lunch; Milk, Apple, Tacos and popcorn.

I'm working on building a rubric for the video games that I'm going to evaluate. I've been spending my spare time with Civ 3. It's lots of fun and I've had a chance to figure out the 'rules' of the game. I'm going to play one of the scenarios soon and do my marking around that.

I'm very excited to go pick up my wood fired stove tonight! The Mrs. and I bid on it at her grandparents farm auction. We got it for 200 which I thought was a steal. I want to put it in the basement of our house when I finish it. The stove is in perfect condition. I'll load up a picture when I get my new digital camera. Any recommendations on a camera type?

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