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April 1999, Volume 92, Issue 4


The Vortex Tessellation
John Drost
A description of vortex tessellations. Some examples include doves and bluebirds.

Using a Digital Camera to Verify Quadratic Behavior
Harris Shultz
This activity presents practical difficulties, not the least of which is the proximity of a large amount of spraying water to the students marking the points on the wall. This difficulty can be circumvented by photographing the stream of water. In particular, the ability of many digital cameras to communicate electronically with personal computers simplifies the task of recording several coordinates of the stream of water.

The Oak Leaf: Connecting Geometry and Biology
Judy Snyder
An activity that involves using geometry, statistics, and computers to interpret data about the leaves of a tree. Specifically, students determined the comparative area, weight, and photosynthetic activity of leaves for leaves growing on the outer part of an oak tree, that is, sun leaves, and those found on the inner part of the tree, or shade leaves. The students were involved in actual research, and mathematics was an integral part of their research.

Forever May Only Be a Few Seconds
James O'Connor
One day, I brought a ball to mathematics class and dropped it. After developing the equations for the finite distance that the ball would travel, I asked the class whether the ball that I had dropped earlier was still bouncing. I was amazed at the enthusiastic discussion that followed.

Teaching Statistics Using Humorous Anecdotes
Hershey Friedman, Noemi Halpern, David Salb
A demonstration of how fictitious anecdotes, especially humorous ones, can be used to teach statistical concepts effectively and to dispel some common misconceptions in statistics.

Algebra for All and Discuss with Your Colleagues: Algebra as Generalized Arithmetic: Starting With the Known for a Change
Randolph Philipp, Bonnie Schappelle
Examples in which we relate the syntactic—including symbol manipulation —and semantic—including meaningful use of symbols—aspects of algebra and examine algebra as generalized arithmetic.

Analyzing and Making Sense of Statistics in Newspapers
Richard Kitchen
A project developed for students in grades 9–12 that uses real-world statistical data presented in the print media. The activities take advantage of the variety of statistical representations found in newspapers.

The Mathematics of the Spirograph
Dennis Ippolito
The Spirograph and how it can be used.

Exploring Fractals in the Classroom
Michael Naylor
This article introduces students to fractals, allows them to study the properties of some famous fractals, and encourages them to create their own fractal artwork. Students will learn about iterative processes, exponential functions, limits, writing general formulas, creating and following algorithms, and computing areas and perimeters of increasingly complex figures.