To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In response to the request for good 3D software, I have found two programs that make wonderful demonstrations in 3D.
GyroGraphics Version 4 is a program that allows 2D and 3D function plots. Its claim to fame is that once the surface is plotted, you can spin it in real time. On a '486 the motion is very smooth. You control the rate of spin and the direction. you can stop it to look at the plot from any vantage point.
It plots y=f(x) and rotates about a vertical or horizontal axis with or without disks or cylinders. It plots z=f(x,y), cylindrical or spherical coordinates, parametrically defined surfaces, space curves or vector fields. I know eighth graders don't know much about vector fields but use what helps them.
The other program is called Converge. Converge also plots 2D and 3D functions in rectangular, polar, and cylindrical coordinates. It produces tables of values, sign graphs, and zeros of functions. With it you can solve triangles, row reduce matrices, find the limit of a function, graph the derivatives (and draw tangentlines) and antiderivatives. This software produces screen images in files that are compatible with Word Perfect and MS Word. Converge does not have real-time rotation of the surfaces, though.
GyroGraphics can be ordered for $89 from CipherSystems 717 Willow Drive Stillwater, OK 74075 (405) 377-4432
Converge is $139 from JEMware 567 South King Street, Suite 178 Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 523-9911