Speaking of Education … Geometer’s Sketchpad

Geometer's-SketchpadBy Katie Grisbacher

Warwick High School math teachers Emily Diem, Mike Neuman, Jeff Wile, and Lauren Sangrey teamed up to apply for a grant to purchase Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP), a software program that allows students to create geometric figures and manipulate them.

“GSP is a great source for visual learners in the classroom,” said Sangrey, “because students are able to move the shapes on the screen and see how certain aspects of the shape change or stay the same.”

“It’s cool to see the shapes visually,” said Melissa Gibble, a 9th grade student in Mr. Neuman’s geometry class. “You can move the angles and measure the change that occurs in real time.”

Creating, seeing, and moving the shapes on the screen help students to discover geometric theorems on their own – learning by doing.

“In my geometry classes, students have shown a sense of independence when working on the GSP activities through self-discovery of the theorems and properties being covered,” notes Sangrey. “They are also given the opportunity to work with peers and talk through what they learned during the activities. The students enjoy this program because it’s interactive and fun to use! It’s great to see the students leading the learning process.”

Sangrey, a 2009 Warwick grad, first encountered Geometer’s Sketchpad during her freshman year advanced geometry class at Warwick. Last year, staff computers were updated with the latest version of the program, and this year’s WEF grant allowed the school to purchase enough licenses for four computer carts, one for each classroom. Now, every student in a class can access the program at the same time, which, Sangrey says, “facilitates investigative learning in the classroom.”

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Katie Grisbacher is a freelance writer and editor living in Lititz. She welcomes your comments at kgrisbacher@gmail.com. For more information on the Warwick Education Foundation visit WarwickEF.org or contact Executive Director Barbara Mobley at info@WarwickEF.org.