geogebraAt Rutgers, I took a class called, “Teaching Math with Technology.” Some of my colleagues thought this was strange, because I’m a history teacher.

But, I’m a math geek at heart. And I love technology. So this was a nice way to combine both of these passions into a class that would give me a completely different view on using technology in the classroom.

One of the things we did was use software manipulatives to play around with geometric shapes. We used Geometer’s Sketchpad, and this is a a proprietary piece of software that costs money. It’s cool. But there’s an equally cool, free, open source alternative: GeoGebra.

What Can I Do With GeoGebra?

Geogebra let’s students create shapes and then manipulate them to explore geometric concepts. For example, we all know that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. We also know that you can’t have more than one obtuse angle.

But rather than tell students this, why not challenge them to break the rules?

With GeoGebra, you could create a triangle, and you can instantly reshape it by dragging any of the points. This will instantaneously re-calculate the angles and the lengths of the sides of the triangle.

You can make some really complex shapes, and one of the more challenging uses of GeoGebra is to have students use it to create complex shapes that can be re-sized. For example, parallelograms requires the sides to fit a certain set of rules, and students need to understand these rules to re-create them.

There is a learning curve. I wouldn’t try to do anything complex as a one-off activity. However, if you use this on a regular basis I can see this being an excellent tool for a math class. It could also be useful as a workstation to challenge some of the more advanced students in the class. When they’re done with their work, give them some puzzles to work out and explore on Geogebra.

Other Cool Features

A few other cool features.

It’s available as a Chrome App. So… put this on your Chromebook and you’re good to go. And no need to download it and install it, which I always¬†hate.

It integrates with Google Drive, and students can save their work there. I love that. I have my students do everything on Google Drive, so this is perfect.

Give It a Try. How Would You Use It?

Go to the Geogebra site and download it, or find it in the Chrome Web App store. Have you used it in class? If not, how would you use this in class…?

I’d be interested to hear in the comments.