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February 2005, Volume 10, Issue 6

FEATURES

Computer-Generated Fractal Art
Darin Beigie
Students use computer software to construct personalized fractal art. The benefits of using technology are discussed, as well as student examples to help teachers understand how to implement this activity in the classroom.

Paving a Way to Algebraic Word problems Using a Nonalgebraic Route
Miriam Amit, Bella Klass-Tsirulnikov
Describes three lessons used in seventh and eighth grades that are built around a poem, a short story, and a young adult novel in a way to connect important mathematical ideas with the ideas presented in the literature. In addition to teaching meaningful reading, the lessons provide opportunities for students to apply proportional reasoning skills, explore linear relationships, calculate a unit rate, and find the relationship between the volume of a cylinder and a cone.

Dividing Fractions: Reconciling Self-Generated Solutions with Algorithmic Answers
Marcela Perlwitz
This article illustrates students' efforts to resolve an apparent discrepancy between their self-generated solutions and the answer obtained using the division algorithm for fractions. The activity described in this article happened in a college classroom, but teachers will learn how to transfer this knowledge and ideology to the middle school classroom to help students explore the division of fractions.

Spatial Thinking Tasks Can Change Students' Attitudes
Jerry Ameis
Geometry-oriented problem-solving tasks that can encourage students to develop a positive attitude toward mathematics. The tasks concern working with polyominoes, two-dimensional shapes that consist of squares joined fully at the edges. Teachers will learn how to use polyominoes to gain students' interest in geometry concepts and manipulatives.