Battin Teachers Presenting Projects that Work at the Math Teachers Conference
in Atlantic City

by Robert Schwarzberg

Battin Middle School principal Deborah DeMattia and three of her math teachers, Mr. Caufield, Mr. Ciggelakis, and Mr. Schwarzberg attended Ihor Charischak’s one-hour workshop at the 2006 NCTM Regional Conference and Exposition in Atlantic City on October 19, 2006.  Mr.
Charischak’s PowerPoint presentation, “The Dynamic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Technology", highlighted classroom technology activities that  these teachers had done as part of their participation in the MATRIX project.

Some of the activities taught by Battin teachers that were shared with conference goers.
One highlight activity was The Great Green Globs Contest which was coordinated by Mr. Charischak was used in the seventh and eighth grade classrooms of Battin and partnering Matrix School, McAuliffe.  The object of the activity is to hit as many globs (green circles on a coordinate grid) by graphing y = mx + b linear functions. Many of the students also learned how to use more advanced graphs such as parabolas, circles and even sine curves.

Mr. Ciggelakis and Mr. Schwarzberg observe their students competing in the Great Green Globs Contest.

Another classroom project was “Noon Day” conducted at the Westminster Academy during the Spring Equinox.  Robin Murphy's 6th grade class recreated an experiment that was done 2200 years ago by Eratosthenes of measuring the circumference the earth using shadow measurements from two point on the earth.  A tall stick and a GPS guide were used for this calculation.  In regard to making predictions from data, Mr. Schwarzberg used DaVinci’s observation of general proportions related to the different parts of the human body.  Students measured each other, collected data, and then had to make extrapolations in their projects of the shoe size of basketball player Shaquille O’Neil and Eddie Goedel, the shortest batter to appear in a major league baseball game.

In addition, to Mr. Charischak’s session, Mrs. DeMattia and the Battin teachers were able to take advantage of other worthy workshops at the Regional Conference and Exposition organized by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Ihor Charischak is employed by the Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology. For four years he has been working with the teachers in Elizabeth to improve the use of technology within the math classrooms.  He also manages the 3 year MATRIX (improving math instruction with technology) project made available by a grant from the state department.