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Letter to Parents/Caregivers:

Dear parents/caregivers

Your child has been provided with a web address containing a number of Geometer’s Sketchpad activities designed to help develop understanding of important ideas in mathematics. With your support and encouragement it is hoped that she/he will enjoy regular use of these activities to support mathematical learning.

In order to use these activities, you will need to have The Geometer's Sketchpad® installed. This software has been licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Education for student take-home use and copies have been distributed to schools. Students can ask their Math teacher or librarian how to borrow a copy. You might like to take a moment to view the “Reading a Sketch tutorial” below, which requires QuickTime (available from the Installers tab above).

Your role, in support of your child, is not to “teach the concept”; rather, it is to encourage students to explore, to explain their thinking, to justify their decisions, and to make sense of the mathematics. Research says that students need to grapple with ideas and learn from their own mistakes in order to develop deep understanding. Use of these activities at home provides a no-risk opportunity for students to take the time they need to explore the mathematics. Technology allows students to experiment, adjust, improve and confirm their understanding.


Outlines of Some of the Sketches:

Red and blue counters provide visual representation for operations with integers. Students are encouraged to attach meaning to the processes rather than memorizing rules without understanding. In fact, research shows that students who try to learn rules before they understand the processes may not be able to go back later to develop this understanding.
Circles and Pi
Based on their previous experiences with perimeter and area of two-dimensional shapes, students investigate the meaning of Pi and, through exploration, develop formulas for circumference and area of a circle.
Dilatations: What a Stretch!
Students examine dilatations (enlargements or reductions) to discover the properties. They will have opportunities to apply their understanding in real-life investigations and in the creation of unique designs.
Solving Equations by Systematic Trial
Students are encouraged to extend “guessing and checking” to using systematic trials to solve linear equations.
Volume – Just Figure It Out
Students determine, through investigation, that the relationship among the height, the area of the base, and the volume of right prisms is: (Area of base)(height) = volume
Angle Sum Conjecture
Students have opportunities to explore visual representations as well as physical models to recognize that the sum of the angles in triangles is constant.



In order to help your student use the activities, you might like to view the “Reading a Sketch tutorial”  VIDEO that describes some of the features to look for.

If you would like more information about how to use The Geometer's Sketchpad®, try:

  A. The TriSkate Tutorials  TriSkate Tutorial 1
 TriSkate Tutorial 2
 TriSkate Tutorial 3
 TriSkate Activity
  B. An Introductory Tutorial  TIPS Tutorial
  C. QuickTime Tutorials  Ontario's Atomic Learning website
         Ask the school for the login and password
For more related math activities visit the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
  (for help view the Using the NVLM movie)
or launch the   Sketchpad Virtual Manipulatives.