I'm Bon Crowder and the photos above are both of me - in 1989 and today. I'm a Generation X mom of Generation Z kids.

I began peer tutoring in high school in 1984. MathFour.com is the 2015 version of me helping peers be comfortable in math.

If you're a Gen-X parent, you're in the right place!

Author Archives: Bon

Two Year Anniversary!

Do books speak? This one inspired a website to help parents talk math!This story is a long, wandering one. Someday, if I get the privilege to meet you, I’ll buy you a glass of wine and bore you to sleep with the details.

For now, I’ll give you the gist.

Two years ago today we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see the “Pirates” exhibition. We ended our visit in the gift shop. When we were in the book store I heard a strange voice.

I looked down and saw a math dictionary.

It repeated itself, “Bon! Stop blogging about goofy stuff and start a website about math. You know you’re supposed to. Quit avoiding it.”

Since I’d never had a book speak to me before, I purchased it.

Who knows what I told Husband at the time. I probably didn’t mention that math books were talking to me. <crazy!>

I bought the book and went home and purchased the domain name www.MathIsNotAFourLetterWord.com.

Luckily for the typing fingers of the parents around the world, I soon shortened the url to www.MathFour.com.

I’ve done a lot in two years.

The goal of Math Is Not a Four Letter Word is to help parents see the math in the world around them and say it out loud to their kids.

To this end, I’ve done the following:

And I’m just getting started!

My ten year goal is this: to get parents to treat math talk like they treat reading. Do it early. Do it frequently. And do it with a smile.

Will you be one of the parents who views math like reading?

What’s next…

On the docket for this year is

  • More content and promotion for That’s Math!
  • Infographics (almost done with the first)
  • Writing for more sites (especially educational ones)
  • Promoting math like a lunatic on Pinterest and Facebook
  • Monetizing the site

That last one might seem a little out of place. And it was hard to decide on.

But I have a family and giving out free content doesn’t pay the bills. In fact, if I don’t pay the bills, I won’t have time to give out free content.

So I’m going to be selling ads and sponsored posts – but you’ll know it when I do. I won’t do anything sneaky or weird.

And there’s a book in the future!

And the big thing is there’s a Kindle book to come out this quarter. I’ll be setting up a survey to solicit your input – I’m writing it for you!

So start thinking about what you’d like to see in a book. If you want to share your ideas before I get the survey out, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Thanks for a great two years – I’m looking forward to more!


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2 Responses to Two Year Anniversary!

  1. Teach Parents how to articulate their own Math Thinking/Solution Methods — esp. by teaching them how to perform Number Talks. I’ll be happy to share my resources, as always! Rock on, Math Sister!

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One Response to Midpoint Formula &amp; Counting – Logarithmic Style

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7 Responses to GeoGebra – Who's It Really For?

  1. Was a little nervous when you started, as I have a serious mathcrush on GeoGebra. I love it’s flexibility. Students can use it as a powerful tool, and teachers can design sketches that allow students to play and notice. Free so students can have at home and schools can widely install? Bonus!

    • It does give the impression that I’m heading to a GeoGebra bash, doesn’t it?

      But I try to refrain from bashing anything and instead give options. Regardless of how a tool looks to a grownup (including me) there’s always a kid that will find it the opposite. Good or bad.

      (Indeed I have a friend who would get frustrated with (and now hates) Cuisenaire Rods! And she’s a physicist!)

      And there’s always something you can do to use a tool in discovery based learning. GeoGebra looks to be one of those “hero tools” – in the right hands it can save the world.

      But if it falls into the wrong hands, we could be doomed.

      So glad you’re one of the heros, John!

  2. I certainly agree that teachers can use GeoGebra to better understand what they are teaching (definitely a plus). And I agree that playing with ready-to-use “interactivities” does not necessary lead to understanding or discovery (although this applies to ALL such R2U interactivities/images AND GAMES – not just those created with GeoGebra). HOWEVER, having students create their own interactivities with GeoGebra to illustrate the topic they are studying and uploading them on the internet (now extremely easy) and/or showing them on a smartboard definitely can help clarify the ideas and/or misconceptions. I have had great success with this.

  3. Hi Bon,

    Like John, I thought for sure you were about to bash a terrific teaching and learning tool, and I am glad that you did not.

    I love GeoGebra. I agree with the benefits it offers that John and Linda mentioned. I have played around with it for years.

    Most of my constructs are products of my play, not constructed with teaching in mind; however, they are great for exploration and discovery of pattern and dynamical change and constancy. I initially thought about creating worksheets for the constructs but decided against it for the very reasons you presented in this post. (As an exception, my Trigonometric Laws construct does have questions which lead students to discover deeper patterns and processes, and wider connections in the Laws.)

    However, GeoGebra’s potential is only as good as that of the user and guide (whether teacher or instructions). It is limited by the expertise of the user. It is also limited by the guidance provided. In a few cases, letting students play with a construct with no guidance can lead to deep discovery; however, often no guidance can lead to students 1) playing around without searching for any patterns, and 2) getting lost in an indecipherable puzzle.

    The two great advantages of GeoGebra are that it allows visualization of concepts and dynamic flow through manipulation of those concepts. I believe Mason (Questions about Geometry, 1991) said that geometry is about change and constancy in movement, not about static images.

    GeoGebra enables movement, bringing geometry – among other concepts – to the life it is supposed to emulate.

    Great post,

    • Thanks, Shawn!

      You are so right. I think the reason I was initially intimidated by this thing was that I had NO guide. I opened it up, clicked a few things and got overwhelmed.

      I see that the link you shared has various constructs as well as other things. Great resource!

      Thanks so much for sharing!

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One Response to GeoGebra – Overcoming the Fear

  1. With Geogebra, it is so easy to look at many ‘What if s’ at the same time. Example: Place four points anywhere and connect them to create a quadrilateral. Locate the midpoints of each of the four sides and connect them to create another quadrilateral. Show that the lastest quadrilateral created is always a parallelogram no matter where the original four points were placed. First of all, you can grab one of the orignal vertices and move it wherever and watch that the smaller quadrilateral changes shape but it looks as if it is indeed always a parallelogram. Place enough measurements of the smaller quadrilateral to assure that it is a parallelogram. Move one of the original vertices and watch the measurements change – but always assuring the the smaller quadrilateral is a parallelogram. I see many students much more engaged with this – especially if they are doing the constructions.

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