Think Inside the Box (Part 2): Using the Box with Polynomials

Published: Sunday, August 12, 2018

The “box” or tabular method of multiplication is a great way for elementary, middle, and high school students to make mathematical connections. In this second of two articles, I discuss how the box method can be used to multiply and divide polynomials.

Add a comment

Think Inside the Box (Part 1): Using the Box with Numbers

Published: Sunday, August 12, 2018

The “box” or tabular method of multiplication is a great way for elementary, middle, and high school students to make mathematical connections. In this first of two articles, I discuss how the box method can be used to multiply and divide numbers.

Add a comment

Why Do We Still Use a Graphing Calculator that Hasn’t Changed Much Since 1994?

Published: Monday, March 26, 2018

News articles on education usually don’t bother me. But this one did.

Last week, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition published a story called “Why the Graphing Calculator Hasn’t Changed Much Since 1994.” The story argues that “the fact that the graphing calculator hasn't changed much since 1994 is exactly what makes it so valuable. If it were updated, there would be no real reason for it to exist.” Peter Balyta, president of education technology at Texas Instruments (TI), explained that “we could easily add features to our calculators like a touchscreen, Wi-Fi or a camera, but we don’t….When someone's buying a graphing calculator, they're not just buying a graphing calculator. They're buying really a solution for a classroom.” The story concludes that students “love” their graphing calculators – either because they have to spend a lot of time doing math or “maybe they are just excited about something that managed to escape the forces of creative destruction.”

I’ve taught math at large public high schools in New York City since 2005. In my experience most students hate their graphing calculators, mostly because they’re expensive and difficult to use. This creates a major – and sometimes insurmountable – barrier to learning.

Add a comment

DeltaMath: An Innovative Math Website for Student Practice

Published: Monday, January 1, 2018

One of the most difficult things for math teachers to do when writing lessons is finding enough time for students to practice skills. Many web sites, including Carnegie Learning (www.carnegielearning.com), Castle Learning (www.castlelearning.com), and Learner Pal (www.learnerpal.com), provide online resources to help teachers create additional practice for students. Like these sites, Delta Math (www.deltamath.com) also allows teachers to create automatically graded student assignments, but it has several innovative features that make it more powerful and useful than its competitors.

Add a comment

My Insider's Perspective on New York's Regents Exams

Published: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New York State’s Regents Exams have been in the news recently. Last month, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released a statement saying that all students would receive credit for question #24 on the June 2017 Geometry Regents Exam. It was the third question on this exam that had flaws. How can Regents exams be improved? As someone who has served on three NYSED committees, I have an insider's perspective on the process.

Add a comment