I’ve been polishing off the last sections of the last book. For these last sections I had to write a few more activities, and then I needed to do the error-check on them. To do this, I’ve found that the safest way is to open a CAS program and run the problems through a computer check (since I’m likely to make the same mistake twice).

On my new computer, the CAS that I have handy on my desktop is Mathematica, and one of my goals for the summer is to really learn how to use it and produce some Wolfram Demonstrations of my own. However, I have found that even when I go through the documentation in Mathematica, I quickly forget how the syntax works from one use to the next.

Mathematica is really built for upper-level mathematics, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be easy to open up and use to check problems on my activities or the problems on a math test I’ve written. So, for all of you out there who are like me, and still can’t quite get the hang of Mathematica, I’m going to record video tutorials as I learn new things.

And, like they say in the song, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”

First up is solving an equation or inequality:

(larger version here)

Second is solving a system of equations:

(larger version here)

To keep track of all the videos, I’ve started a little Google page (check out Google Page Creator) to store the links (you can bookmark the Mathematica Video Tutorial page here). I’m also planning to learn how to use Dreamweaver this summer, so I may be doing a pretty extensive rebuild of my website … we’ll see. It didn’t seem worth it to rebuild the whole site just for an additional page.

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I like the idea of using the CAS to check out the problems. I am going to check out Maple 12 to do this (it looks a lot easier to use in that you put in equations using an equation editor instead of learning the syntax command that was required before – although I heard you can still use it if you want). We will see.

Dreamweaver is a great tool – The thing I love about it is being able to sync up your online courses so that you edit them in Dreamweaver and it automatically updates the course (using WebCT and Blackboard Vista). I still need to learn how to do more advanced things inside of it.

Maria,

Keep it up!

I will be learning Mathematica over the summer, your tutorial have already been a big help.

I just started the NKS book as well.

All the best

B.

These tutorials are great, please keep them up!

The only thing I could possibly ask for would be to host them on a separate blog so I could get an rss feed to notify me when new ones come out. Or on a separate YouTube channel.

Thanks for your work though, it has so far been very helpful!

I am working on a math video help site. We have over 1500 free math video clips already. The number will reach to 2000 by Fall 2008. Take a look. Sincerely.

TuLyn Math Help Videos and Worksheets

If you haven't figured this out already, you can convert output to "traditional" or textbook like formatting with the "TraditionalForm" command.

so:

In=

TraditionalForm[

Factor[2 x^2 – 5 x – 3]

]

Out=(x-3) (2 x+1)

___

Alternativly you can set all ouput to be in traditional form by "Edit>Preferences>Evaluation>Format Type of New Output Cells>set to "TraditionalForm"

___

Or you can evaluate without the command "Traditional Form" and right click on the result and Convert to>Traditional Form