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Topic: Graphing Calculators - for graphing
Replies: 8   Last Post: Nov 2, 1995 11:33 PM

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Steve Cottrell

Posts: 97
Registered: 12/6/04
Graphing Calculators - for graphing
Posted: Nov 2, 1995 9:48 AM
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Much of the discussion on graphing calculators that has appeared here
lately has wandered away from the subject of graphing. One of the
teachers in my district shared the following story of a student in
his class that illustrates the benefit we all hope would come from
graphing experience. The story is second hand so I may have some
details wrong, but the point accurately reflects the student's work.

His student had just completed the AP Exam (1994) and commented to
him regarding one of the problems, "Of course the graph was a
parabola that turned down, so I proceeded to ..." (Recall that the
1994 exam did not permit use of graphing calculators.) The teacher
interrupted with "How did you recognize it as a parabola having
the properties you describe so quickly?"

The student answer was that he had graphed so many parabolas in
classwork both that year and the previous year that recognition was
immediate and that the details were obvious from his considerable
experience. (End of story.)

My point is that even though I took an analytic geometry class 35
years ago and taught courses which included analytic geometry for many
years, I have far less experience with graphs that I created than most
students who use graphing calculators today have in a few days in
their classrooms.

It's starting to happen. Students are beginning to be able to
recognize functions from algebraic, graphic, tabular, and yes, even
verbal forms, and make tranisitions from one format to the other.
The progress of students is amazing.

Steve Cottrell
Mathematics Supervisor K-12
Davis School District
45 East State Street
Farmington, UT 84025

Phone 801-451-1123
Fax 801-451-1333

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