## Hello, Algebra Tiles! Where were you when I was in high-school?

Maple Learn

One of the things I love most about my job is working and collaborating with math teachers across the globe. Every discussion leads to additional insights into the challenges facing teachers today, and new ideas on how to make Maple and Maple Learn better. And sometimes, I even learn some math I thought I already knew!

A few months ago, I introduced Maple Learn to a friend of mine who teaches high school math in Kingston, Ontario. I showed her how she could use Maple Learn to teach many concepts during our call, including Completing the Square. I walked her through Maple Learn’s free-form canvas and explained how her students could work through a problem line-by-line just as they would in their notebooks. I highlighted the live plot window and showed how her students could graphically verify that their solution was equivalent to the initial expression. And, I demonstrated the power of Maple Learn’s intelligent context panel and how her students could check their answers algebraically. I thought I had done a good job, until she said: “Karishma, that’s not how we teach Completing the Square anymore!”. Huh! I was floored. What I had shown was the way I had learned the concept so many years ago. I was surprised to learn that there was a new way.

My friend then introduced me to Algebra Tiles and how she used it to teach Completing the Square. Once we went through a few examples, I realized that I had never fully appreciated what I was doing when I completed the square. I had memorized a series of steps without really understanding what I was trying to do. The progression of our discussion naturally led to the inevitable question: “Karishma, does Maple Learn include Algebra tiles? Because that would be a game-changer for my students. Currently, we use physical tiles, but with remote learning, we need something digital.” At that time, my answer was ‘not yet’; however, with the introduction of image support last week, I’m happy to announce that Maple Learn can support algebra tiles and other interactive supports.

Here is the Maple Learn document I created on Completing the Square using Algebra Tiles.

Feel free to change the expressions listed in the document and share it with your students. To see algebra tiles in action inside Maple Learn, take a look at the short video that I created.  If you have any suggestions for improving this application, please feel free to let me know.

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