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March 2008, Volume 13, Issue 7


Ten Practical Tips for Making Fractions Come Alive and Make Sense
Doug Clarke; Anne Roche; Annie Mitchell
Key ideas and concepts involved in understanding fractions. Offers 10 tips to the classroom teacher to support students to develop a connected understanding of this important topic. Research from Australia and elsewhere. Includes a fractions activity sheet.

Read how you can use this article as part of a Professional Development Experience.

Building for the Future: The Mathematics of Architecture and Design
Suzanne Reynolds; Michael Mahan; Barbara Lee; Gilda DelRisco

A project-based learning experience that integrated mathematics with architecture and design. Middle school students from an urban district gathered information, wrote environmental impact statements, drew site plans, and constructed scale models for a proposed new middle school to be built in their district. Includes examples of student work for each task described.

more4u-MTMS-100x23 Podcast from NCTM's 2009 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Mathematics and Engineering: Design Projects to Middle School Students 
Presenter: Diane Leighty

Card Sorts, State Tests, and Meaningful Mathematics
Jennifer Chauvot; Sharon Benson
Card-sorting activities that involve state-mandated test items to use with prospective and practicing mathematics teachers to help them recognize objectives tested while exploring reform-minded mathematics instruction recommendations. Includes two activity sheets.

An Experiment in Using Portfolios in the Middle School Classroom
Vicki Maxwell; Marshall Lassak
One teacher's use of portfolios as an alternative assessment in her mathematics classroom. Quotes from student entries are included, as well as portfolio requirements, check list, and letter to parents.

Improving the Planning and Teaching of Mathematics by Reflecting on Research
Lauren Hoffman; Daniel Brahier
Article presents major results of TIMSS, along with practical suggestions and questions that mathematics teachers can ask themselves to apply the results to the improvement of their practice. Differences in the U.S. and Japan are highlighted, such as the U.S. emphasis on procedures, and Japanese emphasis on concepts. In Japan mistakes point out areas that need more work, in the US mistakes are viewed as something bad. In Japan teachers want their students to see relationships; in the U.S. teachers want their students to learn skills.

Percents Can Make Sense
Ron Zambo
Instructional activities, utilizing blank hundreds charts, designed to help students develop an understanding of the multiple relationships between fractions and percents and unit price. An emphasis is placed on the development of mental math.  Articles include diagrams and charts.

Celebrate Pi Day

Fun fact about March 14. Lists websites to help with ideas of how to celebrate Pi Day in the classroom.