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Discussion: Function Flyer tool
Topic: Function Flyer
Related Item: http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/260/


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Subject:   RE: Function Flyer
Author: Julee
Date: Mar 11 2004
Tool:
http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/flyall/index.html

Bethany,

Thank you for your suggestion to look more closely at the How? feature of the
program for advice on entering functions.  I had skimmed through that section,
apparently too quickly.  I do think it would be helpful to direct users to the
How? area in the window that pops up to tell the user that the progrom does not
recognize the function.  

Some people may get the feeling from the message (as is) that a particular
function isn't in the scope of the program.  I am just worried that the message
encourages people to try a different function rather than encouraging them to
try to enter the function they really want to explore in a manner that the
program understands.  

I realize that the message says to check the fuction and try again but consider
the following scenario.  I type in 3x and I get the message.  But... 3x looks
good to me on the surface so as a trial and error person I might assume that I
can't use a coefficient there.  I don't know that when the program says to check
that I need to check in the how? section to find the appropriate form.    

As far as lessons go I was just considering the power of always using the same
utility and revisiting similar questions as new families of functions are
introduced.  For example, if we were to take an in depth look at polynomial
funtions, we could enter in a function of degree 7 and initially set all the
sliders to 0. Then one by one change them to desired values to hopefully observe
what a powerful effect the leading coefficient has on the function.  The tracing
feature is very helpful in tracking changes on the less powerful coefficients.


Trig students often explore shifts of the graphs so looking at shifts of other
fuctions, or thinking of them in those terms can lay important groundwork for
the future.  

I am not visuallizing a lesson centered around the tool but rather an
integration of the tool throughout a curriculum that explores a variety of
funtions with an emphasis on revisiting similar questions.  The exploration
questions posed with the tool now are a good starting point.  I hope to use the
tool in more specific ways to answer more specific questions about the nature of
graphs in general.

Julee Lee

On Mar 10, 2004, Bethany Hudnutt wrote:

Hello Julie,

I'm the manager for Project Interactivate, the project in which Function Flyer
is contained.

Did you find the help file associated with the activity?  At the top of the page
is a what? how? and why?  The how? gives details on how functions must be
entered.

Of you have specific suggestions for more effective support materials that would
be most appreciated.  I cetainly need to work on developing a lesson
specifically for this activity.

Take care,
Bethany






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