Dynamic Number Charts in the Mathematics Classroom

Dr. Don Ploger
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When children learn mathematics in school, they often resort to memorization. There are, however, ways that encourage meaningful learning and promote mathematical aesthetics. The presentation describes how students learn about mathematical topics in the elementary school curriculum by creating patterns in Chartworld, a flexible computer system that allows students to explore a wide range of spatial patterns in a dynamic hundreds chart. Children can begin with a single click of a mouse, and Chartworld automatically creates a spatial pattern. The children may then observe, modify, and extend their work as their mathematical awareness and knowledge deepens.

The presentation will examine an instructional sequence beginning with the first introduction to Chartworld. The pattern is intrinsically interesting to the children, and can be appreciated aesthetically. However, there are always deeper mathematical connections that can be examined whenever the students are ready. The example chosen will show the connection between skip counting and multiplication, and then the relationship between multiplication and division. After students master these important fundamental ideas, they can then learn the mathematical connections to prime and composite numbers, topics that are central to the mathematics curriculum for elementary school.

Students can use Chartworld as an easy-to-use application, where they simply click and get a pattern. However, their clicks are being converted to a set of instructions, and students can observe and modify these simple programs. Examples of the work of children are presented, and guidelines for teachers are discussed.

Keywords: Teaching, Learning, Mathematics Education
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Don Ploger

Professor, Coordinator, Science and Mathematics Education Department of Teacher Education, Florida Atlantic University

Don Ploger holds a Masters of Science in Nutritional Biochemistry and a Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University. He worked as a Research Psychologist for seven years at the University of California, Berkeley and as a Teacher at Lawrence Hall of Science. At Florida Atlantic University, Don Ploger teaches Methods of Mathematics to future teachers. He works one day each week in the public schools. His research interests include the development of computer materials to enhance elementary school education: to help children and their teachers enjoy learning challenging mathematics.

Ref: T05P0154