Tag Archives: visual work

Math 303 – Geometer’s SketchPad in the Classroom


Creating Carnival Tickets with the Geometer’s Sketchpad

Using Translations, Tessellations, and Quadrilaterals


1. First construct a line segment, we’ll call it AB. Make sure to label the points, A and B.

2. Create a point somewhere above AB and label it C.

3. Mark AB as a vector, by selecting it, clicking on the  transform tool, and selecting mark as vector, then select point C.

4. With point C selected, use the transform option to translate AB with point C.

5. With the translation in place, close off the rest of the polygon for a parallelogram like figure.

6. Use the line segment tool to create multiple little segments from point A to C, much like a torn section of paper.

7. Making sure that AB is still the marked vector, select all the little line segments from the previous step and translate them.

8. Select all the vertices of the shape and use the construct tool to fill in the interior. Use any color you’d like.

9. Keep AB as your vector and then select the interior of the shape.

10. Translate the shape. And repeat this, by selecting the newly created shape each time, until they disappear off of the page.

11. Then make BA your new vector and repeat the translating with the colored interior.

12. Make sure that each alternating shape is a different color.

13. Using the Polygon Edge tool, create another parallelogram within the first one. This does not have to be perfect. Do this for each of the shapes your created while tessellating.

14. Make sure that the new shapes are not the same color as the first ones and then use your text tool to make up any kind of ticket information you’d like. (Optional, hide any unwanted lines and vertices from the original shape)

And voila, there is your finished line of carnival tickets.


A. How has the program allowed you to explore geometry in the classroom this semester?

With the use of Geometer’s Sketchpad, I have been able to understand the concepts that we have covered in class on a more in depth level. I have been able to not only review ideas that we have gone over in class, but also gotten hands on experience with working with these various concepts thanks to the assignments we have been given for the program. Aside from what was covered in class, simply being able to work on my own and look at all the different tools in the program has introduced me to more geometric concepts. I have been able to look more at what makes a polygon and how they can vary in shape and size, not just be regular. And working with polygons more is just one of the things I have had the chance to explore with GSP. I hope to continue using it to learn and understand more about geometry as a whole.

B. What are the uses of the program in your future classroom?

The uses of this program in my own future classroom will be many and varied. I can use it as a way to introduce basic shapes, teach about angles and measurements, how to work with rigid motions, and a number of different things. Most of which will probably be in class demonstrations followed by students replicating their own versions of the assignments. I hope that it will be a hands on tool that will not only help to teach students further about geometry, in all different grade levels, but also help to keep them interested in the subject as a whole.

C. What are the strengths and/or weaknesses of the program?

The strengths of this program definitely lie within how it offers more hands on experience for students to be able to work with concepts that, at times, can be very confusing. They are able to try an assignment and work with a geometric concept at their own pace with their own thought processes and hands. Its weaknesses, however, are that it can be rather confusing, especially to start with. Students need to have very clear instructions to be able to properly use the tools that the program offers and work with the concepts, at least until they have become more accustomed to it. A different format for the program with more clearly labelled tools would definitely not hurt it, particularly for younger students who may be using it. But with both its goods and bads, I would definitely suggest it for anyone learning or teaching geometry to use GSP.

INSC 310 – Energy, Motion, and Forces

For this section of the course, we have been focusing on the concepts of energy, motion, and forces. This is basically looking at how energy is produced and what different things go into creating energy, with the main focus being on potential and kinetic energy. The activity itself focused on showcasing both of these types of energies by having a small, toy car roll back and forth on a ramp. With it, we were able to see just how motion works and how things such as friction can affect it. It also, with the activity sheet, helps to have students practice and learn how to use graphs by graphing the beginning and end heights of the car from the half pipe.

The activity is a good way to introduce and give visuals to the concepts of both kinetic and potential energy. It allows the students to have hands on time and see just how things can move with a controlled experiment. While a good activity, it can be a bit hectic to try and get together and ready. For the sake of time and to lessen confusion, I would probably only set up one ramp in my classroom myself and then have the whole class work together, with my help, to have the car roll on the ramp. It would hopefully make the activity run smoothly and then we can focus more time on the concepts and the graphing than simply trying to get everything to work.

Toy Car on Ramp

INSC 310 – Properties of Matter

The topics that we have been focusing on, and that relates to this activity, are the concepts of diffusion and osmosis. This is basically the movement of molecules through cells from high to low concentration Both are passive processes, and osmosis is different from diffusion because it focuses solely on the movement of water. This plays into the activity, “Eggs in Vinegar and Syrup”, because we observed directly the process of osmosis with it. The eggs, once the shells were dissolved with vinegar, were both placed into two containers of water and syrup. The ones in water retained their puffy, water filled appearance, while the ones in syrup looked deflated and shriveled thanks to the water leaving the high concentration in the egg and moving to the lower concentration in the syrup.

This is a great activity to show students just how diffusion and osmosis work. It might be a timely experiment that requires a few days, but it is an excellent way to give a physical demonstration of a concept that can often be very difficult for younger students to grasps. They are able to really see how the eggs change and how water and other molecules will move between semi-permeable membranes. It also offers a hands-on approach as well in which students can safely touch and explore the eggs once their shells have been dissolved. It is a fun experiment that offers multitudes of learning styles to cater to student needs and enforce the concepts of matter, diffusion, and osmosis.

Eggs in syrup and water

INSC 310 – Atoms and Molecules

The subject matter that was the focal point for this activity, “Building Atoms with Buttons”, was atoms, their makeup, and how they make up different elements. As a class, we have been focusing on the micro-world and all that goes into such, including what everything is made up of atoms. We looked at an atom with the three basic components that go into them, protons, neutrons, and electrons. We explored how they each play a part in the atom and further how the difference in these components can change the atom’s charge and what element the atom belongs to. The activity itself was a basic, hands on way to give students the chance for hands on learning about the smallest parts of matter. We used colored buttons and a print out of the atom to form different elements as well as see the different charged particles. Depending on what element called for what parts, there would be a different number of three different colored buttons on the atom, with the protons and neutrons in the middle and the electrons in the surrounding shells.

For me, personally, I believe that activity is something very useful for teaching younger students about atoms. Not only do they get to see how atoms work and the different parts that go into them, but they also have the chance to actually make them and feel them for themselves. It allows visual and hands on learners a better opportunity to understand the concepts. The only real thing I would see changing would be perhaps making the activity a group activity using a huge atom and have all the students watch as the class puts together different atoms and elements. That way, the teacher could more easily keep an eye on everyone and make sure that the students are seeing the right way to put together an atom and just what part, the protons, effect what element the atom is a part of.

Picture of the activity, both the visual section and the written portion