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Topic: Handheld Computing

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Subject:   handhelds promote thinking
Author: judy
Date: Mar 19 2003
I have been using graphing calculators with and without CBLs or CBRs for many
years with 7th and 8th graders. I started with CBLs in 1997 and have used them
quite successfully for students to get an idea of graphing rate of change. We
use the motion detector to see how fast a student walks and graph distance over
time. Students also have to plan a "walk" to match a given graph. Now they have
CBRs that work quite nicely, but we already purchased CBLs.
CBLs can be used with many devices for gathering data and graphing results. This
is not the only way, but it is interesting to students, stimulates thinking, and
motivates them to want to explore further.
I integrate graphing calculators with my lessons. For example we are now
studying exponential functions with 8th graders and they recently graphed some
variations on the general exponential equation. Now they can predicat what will
happen if you change the a or b values in  y = a(b)^x. After seeing the changes,
the visual stays in their mind as they work with the abstract equations.
I value these handheld tools and use them along with having students draw graphs
by hand.

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