## Wolfram Alpha for Inquiry Based Learning in Calculus

Now that all my Calculus II students know about Wolfram Alpha (I showed them), I have to make sure that the assignments I ask them to turn in can’t just be “walphaed” with no thought. In Calc II, our topics list includes a lot of “techniques-oriented” topics (integration by partial fractions, integration by parts, etc.) and because of the need to keep this course transferable to 4-year schools, I can’t really get around this. So now I’m in the position of having to reconcile the use of technology that easily evaluates the integrals with making sure that students actually understand the techniques of integration. There are two ways I’m tackling this: 1. CCC (Concept Compare Contrast) Problems: I’m writing problems that focus on understanding the mathematical process and the compare/contrast nature of math problems. While Wolfram Alpha can evaluate the integrals for them, the questions I’ve asked require (I hope) a deeper level of understanding about what happens when the techniques are used. Here’s an example from my recent problem set: There are two pairs of problems below that are exactly the same. You won’t see why until you do the integration, showing all the steps. Find the pairs and then explain how the matched integrals are fundamentally the same. 2. Inquiry Based Learning: One appropriate use for any CAS (computer algebra system) is to use it as a...

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