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Re: mathematica use

  • Subject: [mg2576] Re: mathematica use
  • From: bruck at (Ronald Bruck)
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 09:26:13 -0500
  • Approved:
  • Distribution: local
  • Newsgroups: wri.mathgroup
  • Organization: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

In article <DIBv0D.BnI at> harkerj at (roadrunner) writes:
>What are your feelings about using mathematica and other computer aids in
>mathematics classrooms?

Try answering the following question:  how many local maxima are there of
f(x) = sin(x + sin(3x)) in the interval [0,2\pi]?

Try it first on your graphing calculator.

Do it next with pencil and paper.

Do it next with Mathematica or other CAS (preferably in conjunction with
what you just finished).

Assuming the Empire State Building is 1000 feet high, and has a blackboard
attached to its side, and you plot this function with x = 0 being at ground
level and the maximum occurring at the top of the blackboard, how much of a dip
is there between the first two local maxima?

Nikolaus Vonessen showed me this problem.  It's an excellent lesson that
human beings need to think about problems and not just blindly compute; but
that symbolic or computational programs can be of tremendous help in 
DIRECTING those thoughts.

--Ron Bruck

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