NuCalc is symbolic algebra and graphing software for the Macintosh. It gives
us a window to the tools our students will use in 2001 -- but it's available
in 1996. NuCalc represents a qualitative leap in the quality and accessibility
of this kind of software. It may not be as comprehensive (or expensive)
as other excellent products, but it's easy to use and extremely fast.
This site presents some sample pages from a book, Introducing Dynamic
Algebra with NuCalc, by Tim
Erickson. The book draws from a wide range of mathematical topics, especially
transformations of functions, and explains how to use NuCalc to help solve
traditional and not-so traditional high-school math problems. Many pages
are blackline masters suitable as handouts. The book is $19.95 from Key
Curriculum Press; the book plus the software is $39.95. If you have
a Power Macintosh, you have the software already: it comes free on those
machines, where it's called "Graphing Calculator." If you have
a 68040 machine or an -030 with FPU, you can buy the software (with the
book) from Key.
To access NuCalc files from the web, you will need to download
the NuCalc Web Helper application and configure it as a helper
application in your browser.
In the old days, plotting was plodding. NuCalc can show you
any function's graph in seconds. But can you go backwards -- from the graph
to the function? This section from the book takes you through using NuCalc
to explore transformations: translations and dilations. Appropriate for
students who can graph y = x2 by hand.
Fourier Series are powerful tools for analyzing functions. Usually,
they're a college topic, but NuCalc can help give students relevant experiences
in adding up sinusoids. These pages appear late in the book, and require
an understanding of "sigma" notation, dilation in the x-direction,
and the shape of y = sin(x).
© 1996 Key Curriculum Press
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