A Math Forum Web Unit
Suzanne Alejandre's

Graphing Exponential Functions

______________________________________________
Suzanne's Math Lessons || Suzanne's Workshop Lessons
______________________________________________
Claris Works is often used for its word processing features but it is a wonderful tool to use for making graphs. The following steps can be used with students to have them create graphs of exponential functions. Accompanying lessons on linear functions or polynomial functions can be used separately or to compare the three types of functions.

Step One

Open Claris Works.
Make a new file.
Select spreadsheet.
Your screen should look similar to this:

Step Two

In column A type the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
(Type the number, press return, type the next number. . . or click in a cell, type the number, click in a cell, . . .)

In column B type the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024

NOTE: This is a good place to point out that the numbers in Column A are values for x and the numbers in Column B are values for f(x). In this example f(x) = 2x or f(x) = 2^x. The numbers in Column A and the numbers in Column B can be changed to fit whatever exponential function you are having your students investigate.

Step Three

Starting in cell A1 select all the cells that have numbers so that they are highlighted like this:

Step Four

Go to OPTIONS and select MAKE CHART.
A window will appear.
Select X-Y Line as the type of graph you wish to use and then select the side button labeled axes.

Step Five

The X axis should be selected. If it is not, select it.
Type the following parameters in the appropriate spaces:
    Minimum - 0
    Maximum - 10
    Step size - 1

NOTE: If you are using a different function you may wish to change the parameters accordingly. The idea of setting the parameters is that it will make the function fit best on the graph. Also you can have different groups of students use different sets of parameters just to show the effect it has on the graph, particularly if you are discussing graphs which display data accurately.

Step Six

Now, select the Y axis button.
Type the following parameters in the appropriate spaces:
    Minimum - 0
    Maximum - 1050
    Step size - 100

Step Seven

Select Labels.
and type in a name for your graph.

Step Eight

Select OK.
Your graph will appear on the screen.

Step Nine - optional

If there is time students enjoy changing the color and/or width of the line.
  1. The colors displayed above are the default colors that Claris Works uses. They can be changed very easily to be colors of your choice.
  2. Go to View, select Show Tools.
  3. On your graph, select one of the small squares of color by clicking on it once. Use the Pen Color Palette. Select a different color and you will see that the original color will be replaced.

  4. You may change the width of the line by selecting a thicker line from the Width Palette.

Step Ten

At this point I like to have students
    Copy the graph
    Open a new file - word processing
    Paste the graph
    Write a description of what they did and what the graph represents.


Go to an example of student work.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

_____________________________________
Home || The Math Library || Quick Reference || Search || Help 
_____________________________________

© 1994-2014 Drexel University. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.
Send comments to: Suzanne Alejandre