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New Twist on an Existing Website

When deciding on which web sites should be reviewed, my criteria changes constantly. But, in every case, I need to find something special within a web site before it can be discussed.

This "caution" fits well with this week's web site. The author is David Terr, who works as an engineer in Los Angeles but has a Ph.D. in mathematics from UC Berkeley. In his "spare time," he creates websites, and maintains four of them.

My focus is Terr's website MathAmazement. It offers three things:

  • Twelve lessons pertinent to pre-calculus
  • Eight lessons pertinent to calculus
  • Nineteen brief essays about mathematics...perhaps reflecting Terr's amazement with mathematics
Now, the lessons are quite standard, and at best can serve as a review for students. That is, they contain no impressive dynamic graphics or novel teaching approach.

But, the essays, also quite low-key in tone and effect, can be useful in perhaps an unexpected way. In their current form, the essays focus on connections of math to careers, art, movies, garden design, web design, etc. But, the essays are quite brief and basically incomplete.

So, as a teacher looking for extra projects for students, why not hand one of the essays to a student and ask them to "fill-in" the substance for the "skeleton" provided by Terr's essay. For example, to expand Terr's essay on math and art, the student could discuss and provide colorful examples, artists, etc. More specifically, think of the possibilities to illustrate and bolster bolster Terr's claim that mathematics is an "inspiration to artists who want to show unique shapes with other shapes to create a piece of art that is beautiful and that makes a statement."