Showing posts with label algebra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label algebra. Show all posts

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Functions and the Casio Calculator fog(x)

When finding fog(x) the CAS calculator does a good job of simplifying algebraic steps, often to the point of making traditional questions trivial in the calculator section.

I'll start by defining a function f(x) =2x+1 and g(x)=x^2 and attempting to find fof(x), fog(x) and the inverse of (fog(x)).

To define a function f(x) go to the Main window and select


A window will appear

Enter the function name (eg. f)
Variable (eg. x)
Expression (eg. 2x+1)

The main window will reply:
Define f(x)=2(x)+1


Enter the function name (eg. g)
Variable (eg. x)
Expression (eg. x^2)

The main window will reply:
Define g(x)=x^2

To find fof(x)

In the main window
f(f(x)) (using the soft keyboard)
press exe

The main window should say

To find fog(x)

In the main window
f(g(x)) (using the soft keyboard)
press exe

The main window should say

To find inverse of fog(x)

In the main window
y=f(g(x)),x))) (using the soft keyboard= don't forget the "y=")
press exe

The main window should say

Here is a link to other CAS calculator posts.

Inverse Functions and the Casio classpad 330

The 3CD course requires knowledge of domain, range, co-domain and inverse functions. The classpad can handle these in a number of ways.

The most obvious way is in graph mode (Menu-> graph tab). Set up a graph (say y=(x+1)/(x+2), and visually examine it to find the domain and range. To find the inverse, click on the graph and select Inverse (Analysis->Sketch->Inverse). The equation of the inverse can be found by selecting the inverse graph and examining the equation bar at the base of the screen. Be careful with this method, as the resultant inverse graph is not written in "y=" form.

The less obvious way to do it is in the main window. I have not found an "inverse" function yet, but the following is a workaround to find the inverse.
Action->Transformation->Simplify (to simplify the resultant equation)
Action->Assistant->Invert (to swap the x & y variables around)
Action->Advanced->Solve (makes x the subject of the equation)
Enter the function
Press ",x)))" using the soft keyboard (to make x the subject of the new equation)

It would look something like this when finished:


In a way I prefer the main window method as it mirrors the algebraic method. I think students need to really understand the parts of an equation to effectively find the domain and range. I explicitly draw students attention to critical information such as the inability of the function to equal zero or where the function is undefined

a) Look for possible values of x where y=1/0 will occur (eg. {x≠-1} for y=1/(x+1) ).
b) If it is not possible for the numerator to be zero (eg. {y≠0} for y=2/(x+1))

If the range is not obvious it is often easier to examine the domain of the inverse of the function.

Here is a link to other CAS calculator posts.

Purplemath has a good explanation of inverse functions.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3A MAT recursive formula, AP's & GP's

Those of you attempting Exercise 8A without students with a thorough grounding in AP's & GP's in year 10 will be scratching your head at this chapter.

Q1: creating recursive formula from word descriptions
Q2 -5: creating sequences (tables of values) from recursive formula in the form Tn=...
Q6: identifying AP's, GP's or neither from sequences
Q7-9: creating sequences (tables of values) from recursive formula in the form Tn+1=...
Q10: creating sequences (tables of values) from recursive formula in the form Tn-1=...
Q11-12,15,16,17: creating sequences from multiple previous terms
Q13: recursive formula using the term counter(n) in the formula
Q14: finding unknowns in recursive formula
Q18-22: Growth and decay problems

My recollection of when we did this in Discrete was that these topics were covered over multiple chapters. When attempting 8A students faced difficulties in that the calculator has some limitations. I can usually maintain 1 chapter per lesson but in this case I let it run over three lessons and found some extra resources to supplement the topic as it left many students scratching their heads. This was hard as it chewed into the revision time I had left for exams.

Things to remember for next year:
1. Present multiple examples of recursive formula for the same sequence for Tn, Tn+1 and Tn-1.
2. Introduce the limitation that the calculator (in sequence mode) can only use up to two previous terms in its definition (eg. Tn+2=Tn+1+ Tn not Tn+3=Tn+2+Tn+1+Tn). We wasted a lot of time on this.
3. You cannot move freely between Tn-1, Tn, Tn+1 and Tn+2 representations if n itself is used in the formula. eg. Tn+1=Tn +3 is equivalent to Tn=Tn-1 +3 but Tn+1=Tn + n is not equivalent to Tn = Tn-1 + n
4. Be careful with the position when dealing with growth and decay. It is usually much easier to define T0 (Tzero) and Tn+1=.. as the initial value and formula. Thus when solving for n, n is the answer rather than n-1 (which caused no end of confusion amongst students).
5. Make students do the examples without a calculator unless it states otherwise. A lot of time can be wasted trying to make Sequence mode do things it is not intended to do.

Sequence mode and Calculator usage (What not to do).

Most sequences can be done in Sequence mode. Some cannot. Here's how to get into Sequence mode.

Let's put in Tn = 2Tn-1 -5 where T1=3 (q.11 from 3a MAT). We are looking for T1 to T5. Press Type in the menu.
Figure 1.

You will notice that the notation to the text is different in that "an" is used instead of Tn. Ignoring that, you will also notice that there is no option for "an", only for "an+1" or "an+2". (Blogger can't do subscripts so just put them in where needed!).

In this case it is not such a problem, we can just transpose our equation to Tn+1 = 2Tn + 5 as n itself is not used in the formula; The given value T1=3 now becomes T2=3, remembering that we are looking for T2 to T6 now (which is really T1-T5 of the original formula).

So now we put in T2.. Easy no? NO! If you look at Figure 1 we have options for Tn+1 where we are given a0 (the zero term) or a1(the first term). No option for a2.

The Saddler text does a pretty good job of making the calculator look clumsy and painful to use compared to paper and pen.

Here is a link to other CAS calculator posts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Eureka.. one problem solved!

Teaching students to solve equations with the balancing method can be difficult as many different skills are required. Collecting like terms, fractions, multiplying pronumerals, dealing with coefficients and the like. When adding all the complexities together students can really struggle.

Surfing around yesterday I found the following link using a classpad calculator to assist students check their understanding of how to use the balancing method. It has worked fabulously well and yr10 students that typically hate algebra (and maths) are all smiles...

Here's the sequence of lessons up to this point (first week of term one)..

  1. review of algebraic terminology
  2. review of collecting like terms
  3. review of multiplying algebraic terms
  4. solving simple equations
Students were shown x + 5 =7 and asked what was a possible value for x. They responded 2 and we discussed how the observation method is often a good method for solving equations. We discussed how this was good for simple cases but with more complicated examples it became too difficult.

I then introduced the balancing method saying we could get to the same result by making x the subject of the equation by examining the LHS and thinking what operation could we do to isolate the x value.

A student suggested that we subtract 5 and I said great.

Then I said to students that the crux of the balancing method was that anything we did on the LHS of the equation has to be done to the RHS. I wrote on the board

x + 5 = 7
x + 5 -5 = 7 - 5
x = 2

and asked how did that compare with our original answer. We then did the following example:

5x + 5 = 20

A student offered the following step:
5x + 5 - 5 = 20 -5
5x = 15

Typically students get stuck at this stage as 5÷5 =1 is not an intuitive step. For once I told them that I would divide by five and showed them how it works.

5x ÷ 5 = 15 ÷ 5 (please excuse the division symbol, I actually used fractions but it is too hard in html)

x = 3

And here's the real magic.. I then took out CAS calculators borrowed from the senior school and they did a number of examples with them. For the following example:

2x - 2 = 15

Their brains started making connections and they actually were using the calculators to check that their logic was correct rather than to give them just answers.

You can see from the example that each step in the calculator mimics the steps to answer the problem on paper. It is easy to see how after each operation (+2, ÷2) x becomes the subject of the equation and ultimately becomes solved with x=8.5

Common errors become obvious earlier. Students decide what operation needs to be done and see what that operation would do. Take this common case:

The student has multiplied by 2 before they have subtracted. They can instantly see their mistake (the LHS of the equation looks more complex rather than simpler so the student starts again. The second attempt subtracting 5 gets them closer to making x the subject of the equation.

For many of us, this is how we learnt to transpose equations - a little trial and error. Lots of practice. Lots of heartache. Lots of looking at the back of the book.

The students found using the calculator fun... and the calculator only gave them guidance - not just solving the answer. It was a mix between the old inverse operations method (change the sign/change the sign that causes all sorts of difficulties when fractional terms/multiple terms are introduced) and the balancing method. To be honest, I've never found the 'scales' explanation that typically accompanies the balancing method useful - but the CAS introduction way I think may have real promise.

The other great thing is that they were recording their answers really well on paper.

For the above example I would see (with equals signs aligned):


To see mid tier students lay out work like this rather than
1) 8.5
was fantastic.

Here is a link to other CAS calculator posts.