Tag Archives: functions

Impressions on a Function Transformations Worksheet

Created this today and one very similar yesterday.

Like I’ve previously written, I really want my Calculus students to have a solid grasp on the most common functions and function transformations.  Three days in, and I think I’m getting somewhere.

What do you think of this worksheet?  It’s very open-ended.  I’m letting the students work together and really talk out what they *think* is happening with the graph.  Some of them go straight to a table of values.  That’s great, too, because then they’re are seeing the Numerical aspect of the “Rule of 4.”  Others are trying to just remember what each change to the algebraic form of the function does to the graph – some with success and some without.  But overall, this worksheet model is making the kids think about the things I want them to be thinking about.  A victory, I’m counting it as.

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Winplot: My New Favorite Must-Have Program

First of all, I need to give a hat tip to my instructor, James E. Howell, at the Advanced Placement Summer Institute at Arkansas State University last month. I didn’t find Winplot on my own. I learned about it from him.

According to it’s homepage, Winplot is “a general-purpose plotting utility, which can draw (and animate) curves and surfaces presented in a variety of formats.” It’s also FREE.

To me, it’s greatest value is not in manipulation or instruction or labs or activities, like a Geogebra or a GSP, but it is in creating beautifully accurate models of all kinds of analytic equations for use in presentations, worksheets, exams, etc.

Here’s a graph I created in about 3 minutes for a worksheet I used in Calculus yesterday.

Winplot does everything. Piecewise functions, trigonometric functions, even implicitly defined functions. Holes, gaps, asymptotes, you name it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, so extreme googling might be necessary until you figure out what you want to do, but if you can dream it, I’ll bet Winplot can graph it.

Learn more about Winplot here.