Pre-Algebra and AlgebraWelcome to Lenny's Wiki!Lenny VerMaas email address phone 402-641-0043
home wiki web page is at
Function Carnival
Illuminations Algebra Tiles Tutorial for Algebra Tiles
Get the Math show math and algebra application and careers. Several videos available.
The Futures Channel also provides videos with career links.

Algebra in the news:
  • Algebra Research from Education Week several good links
  • Personalizing Algebra Blog: Researchers at Southern Methodist University have found that personalizing algebra word problems to students' interests can improve their performance. The researchers surveyed ninth-graders about their interests in sports, music and movies, and the students who received personalized story problems solved them faster and more accurately than students who did not receive questions tailored to their interests. "The whole thing with algebra for kids is they say, 'This isn't relevant to me.' Making it relevant in any way is a good thing," said Michael Shaughnessy, a mathematics and statistics professor at Portland State University in Oregon.
  • This summer, the political scientist Andrew Hacker’s New York Times Op-Ed essay “Is Algebra Necessary?”set off a national debate on mathematics education. Here is how the essay begins: A typical American school day finds some six million high school students and two million college freshmen struggling with algebra. In both high school and college, all too many students are expected to fail. Why do we subject American students to this ordeal? Great responses to the question “Is Algebra Necessary.” See the response on the blog
  • Omaha World Herald article "Who Needs Algebra? Educators divided"
  • Students taking algebra in 8th grade do better on AP math exams. Article

Check out the number sense and Kinesthetic page

  • Can you get Froggy across the pond using a sine curve. Blog with problem and video solution.
  • Practice Trig, Unit Circle Game, on the Unit Circle

A new applet, __Function Matching__, challenges students to find the function expression that matches a generated function graph. For extra fun, students can choose from several function types, or they can let the computer pick for them.

As an Illuminations Summer Institute participant, Katie revised the game Battleship and incorporated more math concepts such as slope and writing equations.

On line help for algebra. index for help is at

Factoring quadratics in the form of ax^2 + bx + c
Hints for the web site show below
a. make "a" >0. If a < 0 then first factor out a "-1".
b. once a>0, then use the signs of b and c to determine the signs of the other factors once you hit the "boxes."
On screen 2 of the purplemath site listed below, they have -3x and +4x, so when you factor the rows or columns of those boxes, you factor -3 and +2 (because the 3 was Neg. and the 4 was Pos. So factor a neg and pos respectively.)