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The (Math) Cat's Meow Web site name: Math Cats

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Web site creator: Wendy Petti, Educational Consultant, Bethesda, Maryland

"As an information technology teacher, I created a lot of interactive projects to help strengthen my students' math skills and understanding," Wendy Petti told Education World. "We also visited many math sites online. I have yet to see my ideal math site for kids. On most sites, interactivity comes in the form of math games in which the hidden message seems to be 'Math is not fun in and of itself, so let's hide it in a game.'"

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When Petti left the classroom two years ago, she began to develop a vision of a math site that would expand students' thinking about math; one in which the math was not cloaked in gimmicks. In creating Math Cats, she wanted to present interactive projects that would allow students to explore and create with math in fresh, open-ended ways.

The most popular section of the site is Math Cats Explore the World. Through these online and offline activities, and through the daily question on the home page's "magic chalkboard," Petti hopes to convey the idea that Math is everywhere!

"Teachers love the Math Crafts section for its fun ways to integrate math and art," Petti explained. "Many teachers have students contribute math story problems or number stories. The section "For Older Cats contains idea banks of creative approaches to teaching math for both parents and teachers. MicroWorlds, Petti's favorite section, offers projects that blend learning, creativity, and fun. Projects include creating spider webs and snowflakes, designing geometric pictures with pattern blocks, and controlling animations.

"I hear from children, parents, and teachers from around the world," reported Petti. "It means so much to me that Math Cats appeals to people of all ages. I am proud that Math Cats has no ads, nothing for sale, and no sponsors. It is my gift to society, a labor of love. I hear from cat lovers, too!"


Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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