Most students enter the class with a good sense of how to use their graphing calculator. However, the graphs that a graphing calculator produces are not suitable for a professional report. The graphing calculator is an excellent tool for students to use, but Excel produces publication quality graphs and is frequently used in a business environment. To complete a project and the accompanying technical memo (or other assessment), student need to use a graphing calculator and Excel to analyze the data. Additionally, I require students to use Mathtype to produce their technical memos.
The technology skills are learned via a series of assignments designed to give them the appropriate skills with a graphing calculator and Excel. Each week students complete these assignments and accomplish several steps in the solution strategy. In addition to keeping the student on task, it also allows the instructor to check the student’s progress on their project.
For this project, students complete four technology assignments:
Technology Assignment: Rational Model DOC | PDF – To account for the asymptotic behavior that is expected from the student to teacher ratio data, students model the number of students and teachers separately. Then the functions are combined to create a ratio function.
I grade the documents students produce for these assignments and point them in directions appropriate for their data. I try to redirect students who are on wild goose chases and congratulate students making good progress. Throughout these assignments I want them to think about what needs to be on a good graph and how to incorporate the work they are completing in their final technical memo.