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Jim Olsen's Home Page
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James R. Olsen, Ph.D.
Western Illinois University
Teaching Resources
For Students
Info on Dr. O.

Annual Western Illinois University Mathematics Teachers Conference - April 13, 2018, on the WIU Macomb campus. Join us for this great conference.

Mini-Conference on Secondary Mathematics Teaching - Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 5-8 p.m. at the W.I.U.-Quad Cities campus.  This mini-conference is intended for grade 7-12 mathematics teachers. Register for this enjoyable evening of sharing and connecting today. More info here.

Desmos Tools - Workshop at Rock Island ROE, Feb., 6, 2018. Slides - Handout.

Desmos Updates - presentation at the NCTM Regional Conference in Chicago, IL, November 30, 2017. Click here for the Google Slides, which have links.

Percent: From 7RP.3 through College and Career Readiness (.PPT) - presented at the Mini-Conference on Secondary Mathematics Teaching - Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Problem Solving and the History of Mathematics - Spring 2018 Online Course Offering ~ WIU ~ Math 406(G). Click here for details.

Mental Math Strategies PowerPoint - created and presented for WIU Math Club, 10/4/2017. This is an overview of mental math strategies with seven strategies highlighted.

added 3/2017New SAT Test

added 3/2017SAT / ACT / TAP Preparation Page

STEM through A Wind Turbine

Desmos and GeoGebra Updates - Handouts: page 1; page 2 Illinois Math and Science (ICTM/ISTA) Conference presentation, Oct. 7, 2016 at 4:00 p.m., in Peoria, IL.

Standards Based Grading - presentations at the ICTM Annual Conference, Oct. 24, 2015, at Tinley Park, IL; the W.I.U. Mini-Conference on Secondary Mathematics Teaching, Nov. 19, 2015, in Moline, IL; NCTM Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, April 6, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

TI-73 Graphics Calculator Information

Beauty of Three Dimensional Polyhedra Workshop (in Celebration of the MAA's Centennial) at MAA MathFest, August 7, 2015 (Washington, DC) and at the ISMAA Annual Meeting April 8, 2016 (Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL). Links to the presentation and resources.

Brain-Based Learning and Learning Theories - much has been discovered and written lately -- and this helps us help our students learn.

Math Education Research and a Plethora of Committee and Government Reports - Originally compiled on the occasion of the Common Core State Standards (the reports were the precursors for the CCSS). Updated periodically.

The 24 Percent Tweets project is complete.  Click>>24 Percent Tweets for the information webpage with links. Click>>Learnist Board if you want to use the Learnist version. There are 4 Learnist Boards (1, 2, 3, 4). Each board explains 6 important percent concepts (for a total of 24 concepts). I hope you can use this to teach or learn about percent and its applications.

Mental Math Curriculum Course Specific Mental Math Curriculum - For Eighth Grade and for Algebra I. 30 worksheets each, teaching 30 strategies.  Free download.

CCSSMCommon Core Math Standards: Information, Links, and Resources


24 Percent Tweets

Seeing Structure in Expressions - Symbols Come to Life: Meaningful Mathematics with A-SSE. This webpage created for my ICTM presentation on October 18, 2014.

Math Contests at Western Illinois University For Middle School and High School Students - This is as ongoing initiative at W.I.U. Get your students involved!

Mathematics Teacher Education Summit, Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9am – 4pm at Lincoln Land Community College. This teacher education summit is designed to provide updates, networking, and sharing opportunities for all involved in the teacher education process in Illinois. The focus is on the new math standards for elementary ('Part 20') and middle school teachers ('Part 21'). For more information, and to register, see

My Spring 2018 Courses: (Click here for office hours.)

Quizlet Page - Quizlet is a great program (and app for iPad or other tablet) for making flash cards and review materials.

iPad For Novices and iPad For Schools: Information, Links, and Resources - Since I'm new at the iPad, I made these pages to help myself and other newbies. A Few More iPad Tips

Volume and Surface Area Webpage - Prisms, Pyramids, Cylinders, and Cones

Online Math Games, Demonstration/Exploration Tools, & Puzzles IndexOnline Math Games, Demonstration/Exploration Tools, & Puzzles IndexOnline Math Games, Demonstration/Exploration Tools, & Puzzles Index
       Online Math Games, Demonstration/Exploration Tools, & Puzzles
, organized by grade, K through 12.
       Spreadsheet of All Games ~ ~ Spreadsheet of All Demonstration/Exploration Tools

Navigating the Landscape of Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Problems - Documents, problems, and handouts from our presentations at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting, October 22, 2011, the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, April 8, 2011, and the Western Illinois University Mathematics Teachers' Conference, March 23, 2012.

PFD Boot Camp (Percents, Fractions, and Decimals) and Basic Training.

RATES Project - Real-world Applications Teaching Everyday Solutions curriculum development project

Math Fundamentals - How ~ Why ~ Games ~ Practice

My PowerPoint on the Berlin Wall.

Secondary Mathematics Teaching Methods (Math 503) is an online course we offer here at W.I.U. At present, the next semester that it will be available is not set. If you are interested in this online course for future semesters, e-mail me.

I am a professor in the Mathematics and Philosophy Department at Western Illinois University. I teach mathematics courses and teaching methods courses for prospective and practicing teachers. My research interests are student understanding of the function concept, educational uses of technology, and problem solving. For more detailed information, click Info on Dr. O.

Some things which have caught my interest lately are:

Please use the following links:

Teaching Resources For Students Other Info. Info on Dr. O.
(including information for Practicing and Prospective 

Math Education Links
Mastery Quizzes
TI Graphics Calculator Tips
N.C.T.M. (& Standards)
I.S.B.E. and Illinois Learning Standards

WIU Home Page ~ Department of Mathematics and Philosophy ~ MRO

James R. Olsen, Ph.D.
Mathematics and Philosophy Department
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
phone: 309/298-2317
Page URL:  or
Old (past) announcements archive.
updated: February 5, 2018
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The ultimate goals of mathematics education are to find meaning and to solve problems.

Love ~ Learn ~ Engage ~ Empower

Counter since 9/17/05

Frank and Ernest (comic), by Tom Thaves, is often subtly profound with a light-hearted approach. "You just need an outlet" - which provides power - has meaning on multiple levels.

You Just Need an Outlet