How to Use the Interactivate Materials

Follow the links below to find the answers to some FAQs.

What are the Interactivate materials?

How do I use the Interactivate lessons?

How do I use the Interactivate activities?

How do I access the Interactivate materials?

What browser should I use with Interactivate activities?

What can I do if an activity won't work?

How do I print Interactivate activities?

What are the Interactivate Materials?

The materials for project interactivate fall into three main categories, activities, discussions, and lessons. There are some additional support materials in the form of an overview of the goals of the project, a dictionary, standards for middle school mathematics, and hyperlinked tables of contents for several middle school math texts.

The table below gives further information, and provides links to more detailed indices for the materials.

An activity is an interactive, computer application designed to teach students about a concept through hands-on experimentation. Activities usually present good opportunities for group work as well as individual investigation. Support materials, which include handouts, tables, worksheets, etc., are available for many of these activities and can be accessed from the why page for that activity.
A discussion is background material written in the form of a dialogue. Each discussion is devoted to one concept, or more rarely, several closely related concepts. Some discussions are based on activities, some are independent. Discussions lead learners to concepts, introduce vocabulary, and help to develop important formulas and structure.
A lesson is an overview of how sets of activities and discussions might be used together to introduce a concept. Included are lists of prerequisites and suggested outlines. Links to individual activities and discussions are included.

How do I use the Interactivate lessons?

The Lessons index page contains links directly to the lessons for those who wish to bypass the textbook contents. The lessons are designed specifically for teachers.

Each lessons page is organized first by the NCEE/NCTM standard and then divided into specific lessons. By clicking on a lesson, you open an entire script to help you through your class. Each lesson includes the following:

  • Abstract
  • Objectives
  • Standards
  • Student Prerequisites
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Lesson Outline
  • Alternative Outlines for the One Computer Classroom
  • Suggested Follow Ups / Extensions

How do I use the Interactivate activities?

The activities are designed to be used by students to explore concepts from the content areas of number and operation, geometry, measurement, algebra, probability and data analysis.

Each activity comes with supplementary pages. These pages are accessed from the activity page. Each will open in a new window, when its button is pressed.

What: gives background on the activity -- for students;
How: gives instructions for the activity;
Why: gives curriculum context for the activity-- for teachers.

How do I access the Interactivate materials?

These lessons and activities can be accessed in several ways. We suggest that teachers access all of the materials through the lessons either via the standards or via the tables of contents as described below.

Accessing the Lessons through the Standards

The lessons included in this program are designed to fit the standards dictated by the Department of Defense Education Activities (DoDEA), the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE), and the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Select the Standards page, to view a hyperlinked version of the standards of each organization.

Accessing the Lessons through Text Tables of Contents

The Texts page links teachers to middle school texts that are supported by Project Interactivate. These pages are tables of contents that are hyperlinked to the interactivate lessons.

Accessing the Activities Directly

The activities can be accessed directly through the Activities Index page. The links on this page lead directly to the java activities.

What browser should I use with Interactivate activities?

The activities are Java applets and as such require a Java-capable browser. Clicking the button below will bring up a window which tells you what you need to do (if anything) to make your browser run the activities.

For more details, read the page on Browsers To Use With Interactivate Activities.

What can I do if an activity won't work?

If the activity will not load at all, first read the information under What browser should I use with Interactivate activities?. Make sure your browser is capable of running the activities and that Java is enabled.

If the activity is loading but acting improperly, try the following steps:

  1. Click the reload button.
  2. If step one doesn't fix the problem, close all browser windows, restart the browser, and reload the activity.
  3. If step two doesn't fix the problem, try running the activity in another browser.
If none of the steps above solve the problem, or if the problem occurs very often, we would like to know about it. At the bottom of every activity page is a link for "suggesting enhancements or reporting bugs." Please help us out by clicking this link and describing the problem in as much detail as possible on the bug reporting form.

How do I print Interactivate activities?

The output of the activities in Project Interactivate are created "on the fly" by a computer language called Java. As a result, they are not regular images in standard image format, so the "PRINT" button on Netscape or Internet Explorer will not likely produce an acceptable print. These instructions should enable you and your students to copy and print ou t results from your explorations, to annotate them, and to make them part of any assessment.

For PC/Windows Users

  1. Be sure the part of the output that you want to copy is on the screen.
  2. Hit the "Print Screen" key on your keyboard (this key is usually located in the top row of the section of keys between the numeric keypad and the main keyboard and may be labelled PrSc, PrtScr, etc.). This copies an images of the screen to your clipboard.
  3. Open your favorite writing or drawing program. These instructions describe the process for the "Paint" accessory (START--> Programs --> Accessories --> Paint).
  4. "Paste" the clipboard into the application.
  5. Use the "crop" tool if you want to select only part of the image. Select the part of the image that you want to keep, then "Cut", open a New File (no need to save the old one), and "Paste" the desired portion into the new file.
  6. You may annotate using the text tool.
  7. Now you may print the file.

For Macintosh Users

  1. Hold down one of the following combinations of keys:
    • Flower+shift+3 creates a picture file of the entire screen.
    • Flower+shift+4 creates a picture file of a rectangular section of the screen. (After pressing and releasing the key combination, drag across the part of the screen you want to take a picture of.)
    • Flower+shift+4+capslock creates a picture file of a window. (After pressing and releasing the key combination, click the window you want to take a picture of.)
  2. Note: To copy a section of the screen or a window to the Clipboard instead of saving it as a file, press the Control key as you select the part of the screen or window.
  3. Paste or insert into your favorite drawing or writing program.
  4. Print.