GeoGebra STEM Exploration
Lesson idea. GeoGebra is free, open-source software for mathematics, science and technology which has a rapidly-growing international user base. It is the STEM equivalent of “Office" style software for business. It has very many powerful features to support interactive use, which can pose a challenge for many to get started. Students are offered a unique opportunity to contribute to its adoption in UK education by developing 'real world' applications for use by students and teachers with a wide range of technical ability.
Teaching approach. The half-term activity consists of 3 half-day workshops interspersed with home-working and on-line collaboration. Each workshop is part tutorial and help in GeoGebra, part development, presentation and feedback on their emerging work. The three half-day sessions become gradually less structured as students become more confident taking the initiative in developing their own work:
An initial GeoGebra tutorial session features ‘real life’ examples such as mathematical modelling(ta) and visualisation(ta) from photographs of patterns and structure in flowers and architecture; exercises such as “math aerobics” where students model algebraic functions kinaesthetically; and data analysis and exploration such as from astronomy (Kepler's 3rd law) and athletic performance (Usain Bolt’s 100m sprints). Realistic examples such as these, or from students’ previous work, are essential to get the ball rolling. Following this, the onus is very much on the student’s own initiative. The focus on ‘real life’ and student ownership of ideas and project development increases student motivation.
The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task develops higher order(ta) reasoning(ta), and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects. (edit)
|Title||GeoGebra STEM Exploration|
By the end of the activity students were able to:
|Format / structure|
wiki page with downloadable .doc version
|Age of students / grade|
|Table of contents|
|Additional Resources/material needed|
|Related ORBIT Wiki Resources|
|Other (e.g. time frame)|
|Files and resources to view and download|
The first resource is an overall description of the activity, containing example activities and agendas:
The following resources were used to stimulate the students. “Math aerobics” and using GeoGebra to model Kepler’s laws and Usain Bolt’s sprints proved highly successful:
This is also available as a separate resource at Kepler' Third Law with GeoGebra
This is also available as a separate resource at Analysing Usain Bolt using GeoGebra
The GeoGebra STEM Exploration document describes five GeoGebra activities and descriptions produced by the students:
Finally, the work produced the following GeoGebra resources, descriptions and evaluations of GeoGebra in the students' own words:
One student also produced an excellent document with links to GeoGebra files
This was a joint project with students, teachers and four organisations: CCITE is the umbrella organisation providing a Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education. STEM Team East provide expert engagement with schools and the CREST award. The University of Cambridge Faculty of Education project ORBIT provide research expertise, teacher education expertise and the ORBIT database (Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching). GeoGebra is a world-wide community developing and using the GeoGebra software.