STRENGTHEN TEACHERS’ EDUCATION IN ENGINEERING AND RESEARCH (STEER) -2003
Summer Program at CSU-
GEOMETRY AND MEASUREMENT
Prof. Jane Dong
Student Assistants Luke Chen
Strengthen Teachers’ Education in Engineering and Research (STEER) updated teachers about the cutting edge technology tools that could be translated into classroom instruction. The program exposed participants to hands-on experience with OpenGl (a multi-lingual package for graphics) in visual C++ and 3 D Studio Max (multimedia software for rendering animation. With participants equipped with these tools, they in turn could model class room instruction to reflect the knowledge they acquired at the program.
Most of the students in K12 schools find it very difficult to visualize objects that they cannot see, thus making it even more difficult to solving problems involving visualization as in geometry. STEER program was one of the means to curtail this difficulty by equipping teachers with tools necessary to design models that students could visualize.
2.0 PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The primary goal for implementing the STEER program was based on the fact that when teachers are equipped with state of the art technology, they in turn would implement class lessons that translate the experience they had into classroom.
As a result of the experiences learned, software was designed using two or three dimensional working models that depict real geometric shapes that sought to:
□ Help students build strong visualization power
□ Heighten students’ motivation and interest in solving problems involving geometry and measurement.
3.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE SOFTWARE (Geometry and Measurements)
The software solves problems involving geometric shapes and concepts. The software has an appealing graphic user appearance that is different from many mundane text and black screens software (Figure 1)
Clicking on the geometric shape button displays the objectives that students would learn about the figure they picked. A two or three dimensional model (depending on picking a plane figure or a solid figure) is then displayed for students to see and relate with.
The program then prompts the students to input parameters of the object they chose, after which the result is displayed in step-wise fashion for students to see. The inherent goal of the step-wise fashion is to afford students an opportunity to “catch” where in their solution they went wrong and recover from mistakes as quickly as possible.
4.0 IMPLEMENTATION IN THE CLASSROOM
The multimedia application makes the hectic experience of lesson planning less, whilst it brings about an innovation in the delivery of instructions, especially those that require visualization. Models for instructions could be designed and displayed rather than buying the materials (as teaching aids) to use in the classroom.
The software would be installed on the classroom computers so that it is accessible to students. The software was structured in the format that class instruction is delivered and also to promote independent studies, thus when students could use it to reinforce their knowledge by solving problems involving geometric shapes and then compare their answers with that provided by the program.
There are few computers in the classroom, however, in order to reach every student in the class, the students would have copies of the software to install on their home computers; creating a virtual class at home for studies, only this time there is no teacher.
5.0 FUTURE PLANS FOR THE SOFTWARE
There are five sections of the California Mathematics standards for Public Schools K12 namely:
o Number Sense
o Algebra and Function
o Geometry and Function
o Statistics, Probability and Data Analysis
o Mathematical Reasoning
The project covers only the geometry and measurement; therefore, it is my fervent will to design other software to cater for the other sections
Secondly, I want to be able to incorporate audio features to make the software more like a video game which students are very familiar with. In this case, the experience with the software would be more like an everyday activity: playing video games, only this time it increases their motivation and interest as well as enhancing their performance.
Thirdly, I want to be able to make the program accessible on-line so that other students could use it and experience the joy of learning mathematical concepts at their own pace. This would demystify the notion that learning mathematics the hard way is not the only way.
6.0 SUPPORT AND BUDGET
The objective of the program is to help students build strong imaginative power, however, with limited number of computers. Thus accomplishing this task would not be readily realized as it would have been if there were more accessible computers. Therefore, more computers are needed to support this noble innovation is the classroom.
K12 students need role models to identify with as well as to tap resourceful information from. It necessary to schedule field trips to the college-campuses to help motivate students make clear career choice. Furthermore, resource persons from California State University-Los Angles could come to the school sites to talk to and interact with students, explaining most of the sciences and engineering fields.
7.0 STUDENTS OUTCOME
STEER program has provided the platform for innovation that translated into the classroom. The software created from the experience and knowledge acquired from the Summer Program provides enough mathematical concepts and skills needed for geometry (as stated in the California Mathematics Framework for K12 public; middle school.) It is therefore, inferable that students would be able to improve the way they visualize geometric figures and solve problems related to them.
California Mathematics framework for K12 Public School-2003
Rex E. Bradford-Real time animation Toolkit in C++ , 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
3D Studio Format, http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/mxr/gfx/3d/3DS.spec
OpenGL Tutorials http://www.codeproject.com/