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ERIC Number: EJ1016568
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Coordinate an Attack Using the Calculator
Kranz, Sharie R.; Amato, Carlo A.; Freudenthal, Eric A.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v18 n6 p356-361 Feb 2013
In this culture of instantaneous technology, students are familiar with immediate feedback. To maintain student engagement, it is vital for teachers to create similarly interactive experiences. Student-centered instruction is important in connecting students to key mathematical concepts. If the connection is not obvious, they may be unaware of exciting mathematical applications. When students recognize that math is relevant and comprehensible and that it connects to their own life or experiences, they become excited about learning. Media Propelled Computational Thinking (iMPaCT-Math) recognizes the relevance of both STEM concepts and hands-on applications. Ninth-grade algebra teachers implemented an iMPaCT-Math activity on Cartesian coordinates at two urban and predominantly Hispanic high schools in El Paso, Texas. Students were introduced to a programming tool that would attract and hold their attention. Students with no prior exposure to graphing calculators or programming delved immediately into the graphing and programming functions of their Texas Instrument-84 calculator. The engaging activities motivated students to practice their newly learned skills while they solved problems closely tied to algebra topics. Within iMPaCT lessons, programming is used to focus student attention on mathematics learning goals and free them from getting bogged down in otherwise tedious work involved in setting up some problems. Since students create pieces of computer programming in the algebra classroom, their ability and understanding of programming increases. Technology and mathematics are seamlessly combined in a compelling, problem-solving context that students can easily access. The students used these procedures to set up a game called "Battleships." The explanation of rules were arduous because students needed time to become familiar with the calculator. Teachers led students through step-by-step instructions to set up their "battleships" as statistical plots and to explain the rules of the game. Instructions were given orally and visually using a document camera, interactive whiteboard, or virtual calculator. The schools using these activities moved on to other areas that further developed mathematical and computer programming concepts. Although lessons can always be improved on, the combination of technology, computer programming, and math appears to be a solid vessel through which to sail to other fields of mathematics study.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A