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MSTE Can Be a Good Four-Letter Word

Because the Internet is filled with resources for mathematics teachers, it is a guess on my part as to which resources would be of most interest or of best use. The guess becomes easier with sites that are replete with multiple resources, as then the odds increase (hopefully) that some part of the site will be of value.

MSTE, an outreach effort of the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a good example. MSTE's goal to "serve as a model-builder for innovative, standards-based, technology-intensive mathematics and science instruction at the K-16 levels." Sounds good in principle!

In addition to a focus on science, MSTE provides many lessons (some interactive) that are aligned with NCTM Principles and Standards...both content and process. Some examples covering grades 6-12 are:

  • In the category of "Representations," a lesson looks at the use of mathematics in the real-world context of cartography
  • In the category of "Problem Solving," a lesson involves multiple explorations of mathematics motivated by missing calculator keys
  • In the category of "Geometry," a lesson uses rolls of dice to establish relationships between sides of a triangle
  • In the category of "Algebra," a lesson focuses on the task of finding the best fitting exponential curve to sets of data
Other than lessons on specific math content, the MSTE site also includes
  • Tools (e.g. GSP, calculator, spreadsheet, Java applets)for both teaching and exploring mathematics
  • Pedagogical suggestions such as organizing a multicultural math fair
  • Discussion of the process of Learn by Inquiry within the context of a community of reflective educators and innovation
  • Links to other projects and web resources
  • Original cartoons...some of the type "you gotta be there..."
And before you leave the MSTE web site, you might look at and share with students an unsolvable math problem included there as a link.....money is riding on its solution.