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Discussion: All Tools in Math 7 on Computer
Topic: Coordinate Graphing Transitions


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Subject:   Coordinate Graphing Transitions
Author: Jeff L
Date: Oct 16 2005
If interested in tools I have used this year to date, check here:
http://syzygy.virtualave.net/lparchiv.htm for a weekly listing.

By far the tools with the biggest impact at the start of the year are one
on-line, one download (free) and a Windows Office product.

To start: http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/89/ Ordered Simple Plot. The
ordered simple plotter allows the student to enter the coordinate pairs in the
order of the drawing and it will plot the entered points thus revealing the
accuracy of the coordinates and/or the interpretation of the recreator.

This tool is handy for the CMP text 'Variables and Patters' which we use to
start the year. It provides a relatively simple way for students to enter line
graphs and therefore check their manual work.

The major advantage of this tool is that it allows the student to enter the
coordinate pair in the form x,y which reinforces the notion of the coordinate
pair.

As a supplemental graphing exercise in four quadrants, we do a 'dot-to-dot'
picture where the students create the picture, list the coordinate pairs and
then have others reconstruct their picture.  This tool is the best I have found
for this task.

(In the event that internet accessing computers are not available to the
students, there is an alternative procedure using Microsoft Excel. The big
difference is that in Excel you need to establish x and y as two separate
columns. Once the data is entered, you highlight the data in the x and y columns
and click on the chart wizard.

Next, select the chart type XY Scatter plot. From the sub-types select
'Scatter with data points connected by lines' (straight with dots) and then
proceed to finish.)

After students have become comfortable with plotting integers on the coordinate
grid, a different type of program is used. That program is WinPlot
http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/13056/ , a freeware program which I use in
place of graphing calculators.  It has the advantage of allowing multiple graphs
on one grid and different colors. Similarly, the table values can be viewed and
compared with student calculations. We use this program in the classroom and the
lab (and many students download their own copy) especially when we are trying to
establish the connection between the data and a possible 'rule'

The next part of the this sequence will be utilizing Microsoft Excel in the
classroom to organize, manipulate and display data.  While Excel has major
drawbacks as a teaching tool, it is ubiquitous and students need to acquire some
familiarity in the middle level environment.

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