Tuesday, January 17, 2006


TinyLogo is the Palm version of Logo. If you have never used Logo, it is essentially a very easy to use programming language in which you can program a "turtle" to move around a screen /or draw images. In terms of math application, this is a great tool for reinforcing concepts regarding distance, angles, and perimeter. It is also a wonderful way to teach critical thinking and problem solving.

There is an overview, easy to use online beginners guide, and even an advanced guide. In the beginners guide, you will want to be sure to look at two sections in particular: About Turtle Graphics and Extending TinyLogo with Your Own Procedures One of the really powerful things that students can do is to create their own procedures (or subroutines for those of you who haave programmed in the past!). These procedures can be saved (they end up saved as Memos) and reused. Students can also write procedures in Memos and then use them in TinyLogo.

TinyLogo can be used with students in elementary through high school. The next step, once your high school or bright middle school students have mastered TinyLogo, is to have them take a look at 0L Systems by Brian Schau. This "is a simple implementation of a 0L System renderer. An 0L System, or more formally a L System, is a string rewriting system which produce a long string to be interpreted as commands for a LOGO turtle." Have your students read the instructions and try to figure out how this works and to create their own set of instructions. The download and user manual are both included at the link above.

WordWiggle V1.0

Ok, I have to admit, this is an incredibly addictive activity (yes, I was up until midnight)! WordWiggle is the Palm equivalent to the game of Boggle. You get a bunch of letters and have to make as many words as possible in a set amount of time. One thing that you do have to make sure that you do is to download the WordWiggle dictionary. To do this, you have to register at WordWiggle (it's free).

WordWiggle checks each entry for proper spelling against its dictionary. Mispelled words cause the student to lose points!

The best part of this though, is that once students learn how to play this game alone, the next step is to partner them up and have them compete against one another. Once in the game, to compete, you have to click on the WordWiggle logo and then click on the menu to select Beam & Play Challenge.

You can also ajdust the settings in WordWiggle. Settings include:

Time limit: 1 to 9 minutes
Puzzle size: 3 x3 to 7x7
Minimum word size: 2 through 5 words

Participatory Simulations

These applications, created by MIT, allow entire classes to participate in a simulation activity. Simulations are appropriate for upper elemenatary through high school focus on science, math, and economics. Full information on how each of the simulation works is listed on the Participatory Simulations web site.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Math Ace Update

You may have read my previous posting on Math Ace. If so, and you downloaded, be sure to go back and download the most recent version (1.8). You might also want to take a look at what Ron Lampe's middle school students have to say about Math Ace!