Friday, June 6, 2003
New computers support CCHS math
For years to come, Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS) students enrolled in geometry, algebra, and trigonometry programs will have an increased opportunity to understand and apply mathematical concepts, thanks to a grant from the Concord Educational Fund (CEF).
The $7,800 grant was given to the CCHS math department to purchase software and equipment. Teachers use the materials to demonstrate the properties of geometric figures and the patterns found within one geometric family. The software program, Geometer's Sketchpad, can also be used to study graphs and analyze a graph's change.
Prior to this acquisition, the math department lacked a sufficient number of computers to introduce this software to a typical-sized class. With the grant money, the needed iBook laptops were purchased, giving all students access to the opportunities that only smaller classes enjoyed previously. Each student works with a partner, who serves as another resource in learning concepts.
CCHS math teacher Sue Ravalese served as one of the project leaders. Ravalese says that with the new equipment she is able to "start a unit by allowing students to develop their own understanding, and build from there." The software enables students to construct geometric figures and analyze their properties. The students are then asked to make their own conjectures about the figures. "By altering sides or angles of the geometric figures, students are able to study all of the figures in a geometric family, broadening their study of patterns within the families," Ravalese explains. She adds that Geometer's Sketchpad has been used not only in geometry classrooms, but also in the algebra and trigonometry curriculums. "The students' level of understanding is higher, and the program is motivating," Ravalese says.
June Patton, also a CCHS math teacher, served as the second project leader. She says that Geometer's Sketchpad "allows students to discover things for themselves." Patton adds that, "It's easier for students to remember what they have learned if they have figured it out for themselves." Patton describes the software as consistent with her teaching philosophies and describes it as beneficial on two levels: "In the technological world we live in the software helps students become more comfortable with technology; it also promotes student discovery," she explains. Patton adds that she is "happy to have a tool like this to teach with."
The CEF grant will help both students and teachers at the high school for years to come. It helps the teachers to broaden the learning experience, and it helps students to develop ideas on their own.
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