Archive for Mathematics

Interactive Islamic art with Girih tiles.

Sketchup - girih 3D

Girih tiles consist of five different shapes which can be combined to create the intricate patterns found decorating Islamic architecture.  (see In Medieval Architecture, Signs of Advance Math - The New York Times 2007 for interesting article on girih tiles). A mesmerizing animated applet demonstrates the variety of complex designs possible with these tiles. Read more

GeoGebra – putting the wow factor into maths

geogebraGeogebra is an open source mathematics program that is so good that that previously bored students find may themselves intrigued by mathematics.

Everything about the program is slick. The drawings it generates look good, and it’s fairly intuitive to use.

Where it shines is in the ability to move one line or one point, and see the rest of the drawing move within the constraints provided. Move one point of a triangle and the lengths of two adjoining sides of the triangle change. Values for angles and the lengths of the sides change accordingly. But it’s not just for geometry – this program also lets you plot charts for equations as fast as you can type in the equation.

It gives students the opportunity to explore mathematics instead of struggle with it.

This is an extremely sophisicated program, so mastering all its features will take a little time, however the learning curve is fairly gentle and there’s ample help, tutorials, and examples available. The program runs in stand-alone mode on a computer (requires java to be already installed), or as a java applet in a browser. It’s already a fantastic program, but since it’s actively developing open-source freeware, it will probably be even better down the track.

The last two screen shots are two of the many activities using GeoGebra at Henrico Public Schools,  which includes four interactive demonstrations of Pythagorus’ Theorem.

Sliced bread for mathematics at last!