Designing Learning Environments for Developing Understanding of Geometry and Space

By Richard Lehrer; Daniel Chazan | Go to book overview
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17
Mapping the Classroom Using a CAD Program: Geometry as Applied Mathematics

Daniel Lynn Watt Education Development Center, Inc.

This chapter describes a prototype fifth-grade geometry curriculum unit and child-appropriate computer-aided design (CAD) program developed as part of the Math and More1 elementary mathematics project, a long- term research and development project carried out by the Education Development Center (EDC) in collaboration with IBM/EduQuest. Fifth- grade students, using KidCAD2 and working in collaborative groups, created computer-generated scale drawings of the classroom, rearranged

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1
Math and More is a registered trademark of the IBM Corporation. The work described here was supported by IBM and carried out at Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts. The author of this chapter was development team leader for the geometry curriculum. This research, however, was a complex effort involving many collaborators, including project directors Myles Gordon and Elizabeth Bjork; curriculum developers Sherry Shanahan and Kristen Bjork; and our program managers at IBM, Elayne Schulman and John Schiener. Wayne Harvey, Kristen Bjork, and I were principally responsible for the prototype software design, which was creatively implemented by Papyrus Software, in an incredibly short time. Our research team, headed by Jan Ellis and including Jill Christiansen and Denise Sergent, gathered and summarized the research data. Our teacher collaborators were Steve Carme and Cynthia Reid of the Bishop School in Arlington, and Peter Escott and Elizabeth Walters of the Lincoln Park School in Somerville. David Nelson and Marlene Nelson (not related) ably captured powerful vignettes in the short video "Plans and Patterns," which has helped keep this work alive both for us and for thousands of viewers at conferences and workshops in the years following the project itself. I also acknowledge the gracious support of my colleagues Sherry Shanahan and Jan Ellis, who read and commented on an earlier draft of this chapter.
2
About 2 years after the research described in this chapter, Davidson Software released a commercial product called KidCAD, a three-dimensional architectural visualization program that has no relationship to the software described here.

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Designing Learning Environments for Developing Understanding of Geometry and Space
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