Two Jacksonville State University mathematics faculty members,
Jan Case and Marilyn Johnson, visited Ms. Megan Barnes' eighth
grade class at Sacred Heart School in December to provide scientific
calculators, instruction on their use, and a party for the participants.
The students used the TI-73 graphing calculators to create linear
models to examine the relationship between the number of times
they could bounce a ball during set intervals of time. The students
collected data, graphed the results and compared their models.
They discussed the use of models for data analysis and prediction
of future results. The students then learned how to use downloaded
applications on the calculators to practice mathematical skills
such as conversion from fractions to percents. The applications
convert common mathematical drill activities into a game format.
The calculator keeps a running record of the names of the students
who have the best times and scores. Principal Charles Maniscalco
joined his students in the activities. Afterwards, students
were served pizza, Cokes, and dessert. Many students continued
with the calculator application drills/games after the presentation.
Eight calculators were donated to Sacred Heart School through
a $3000 Benjamin Banneker / Texas Instruments Technology Award
that was received by JSU's Marilyn Johnson and Jan Case. The
grant also provided 30 calculators that are now incorporated
into JSU's mathematics classes for pre-service elementary and
middle school teachers. The National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics Principles and Standards place a significant importance
on technology, calling calculators and computers "essential
tools for teaching, learning and doing mathematics." JSU is
committed to training future mathematics teachers to use a variety
of methods to guide students toward skills in reasoning, pattern
recognition, decision-making, and problem solving.