The opening scene was a pirate story using Geometer’s Sketchpad. Frank Sobierajski, the speaker for this session, showed us how you can travel around a pirate’s map and eventually get to the starting point where you began. The boomerang or perimeter theme was prominent at the beginning and end of this standing room only presentation.
The heart of Sobierajski’s session included using Microsoft Excel in a number of ways that would aid high school and middle school students. Some of the information using physics was above my 6th graders heads, but there were several more resources that were provided that made up for any fast-paced physics demonstration. Consider the wonderful idea of free clip art items that turned numbers and letters into coins and playing cards. It had an easy “wow” factor. He also introduced us to TeacherTube.com. The website is a wonderful spin-off of YouTube. In addition, there were problems that dealt with simple homework assignments for students that including digital images, algebra on the go with Camtasia studio, and an original Birthday problem in Excel. It was definitely an awesome presentation. We learned so much about how to answer those “why math” questions that students often push us in a corner with. He definitely set teachers up for success with the large amount of ideas.
The only pitfall with this session was the time. All of us who arrived early actually got to see a 65 minute presentation, but Sobierajski was so interesting that it was obvious that he needed more time. His passion exceeded expectations and every math teacher should see at least one of his sessions.