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About what we did
What did we do? We did a lot of things. If you are a visitor, you will know how we created our web site, and how much time we put into it. If you are a ThinkQuest team member, you will get some ideas from things we did.
We knew about the ThinkQuest international web design contest from an article about the winners of 1997 on a newspaper. We were all high school students and wanted to give it a try, so the team was formed. In this June, Louis and Robert graduated and would go to college, and William would be a senior in high school. We were doing our project in and after school and during weekends.
First of all we needed to choose a topic. The word "ThinkQuest" inspired us to introduce a thinking method. The coach Bao Qi Feng has rich math teaching experience. Very soon we chose that how to prove trigonometric identities to be our topic. We met every weekend and our coaches taught us the ideas of proving trigonometric identities. We feel these ideas are very good and useful, because we can easily prove trigonometric identities. It wasn't that easy for us to write out the stuff you see on this web site. Actually it's very hard, because we were writing something totally by ourselves. From February to May, we learned first, and then we began to write the basic idea of our project. We'd read several trigonometric books, and we did a lot of trigonometric problems in those books. We discussed problems every weekend when we met, and learned from each other.
While we were writing our project, we noticed a big problem for this particular project--displaying the mathematics characters. If you know something about HTML or Internet, you know it's impossible to display mathematics characters without using any additional software at present.
There are several ways we can use to display mathematics characters. Finally we decided to use graphic format to show our work. Then how can we type out the mathematics characters? There is a computer language called Latex (or Tex), which is used for science professionals to write their papers. Latex is a really powerful language for this kind of needs. Unfortunately, none of us knew anything about Latex. The simplest thing to do at that time was to learn it. There was no shortcut. We used the Latex program in Math & Computer Science Department of Kent State University. We wrote our project in word processor then reformatted it in Latex, because we felt much easier to do in this way. We also got help from the ThinkQuest help desk. It was in mid of June.
We wrote out our project, and getting into the correction stage. We had checked and corrected our paper over ten times. We printed out over 1000 pieces of papers. After that we were lucky to have Dr. Smithies in Mathematics Department of KSU helping us and giving us feedback, which made our project more completed.
The next step was designing the web site. It's already in mid of July, but none of us thought we would use that much of time to do this project. The goal of our web site is to let visitors access the information they need easily and quickly. We try to let visitor spend as less time as possible for downloading the web pages while retaining our web site looks good.
Just those mathematics characters and equations you see on our web site took us a lot of time to scan, OCR, re-size, control the quality of them, and put them into web pages. Sometimes we had to give up some ideas because of the capabilities of the web browser, and the limitations of our knowledge. We also decided to record audio for visitors to listen and for easier understanding. At the last period of time, we worked around 8 to 12 hours a day for this project.
When the beta version of our site was out, we asked some professors in several universities and colleges to review our web site and give us some feedback. We want to specially thank Dr. Askey of University of Wisconsin-Madison for his help to our web site, and all other professors who responded to us.
After all, we are very happy with the result of our project and we've learned a lot while doing it.
Some numbers of our web site:
We wrote over 12999 words, used over
1000 pieces of paper. We used a total of over 700 pictures of
mathematics characters and equations. Our site has 3 versions
designed for different browsers and connection speed. We have
a total over 34 minutes of audio for visitors to listen and learn.
Questions? Comments? Contact us.
© Copyright 1998 LWR, ThinkQuest team 17119. All rights reserved.