MathGroup Archive 1998

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new user help

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg13296] new user help
  • From: john at (John M. Dlugosz)
  • Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 03:18:44 -0400
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  • Organization: at home
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I'm lost.  I just don't know how to get started...

The excersize I've chosen for myself is to start with


and manipulate it into the form (x-h)^2+(y-k)^2==r^2

So... how do I "manipulate" the equasion?  The functions like Expand,
Factor, etc. don't help much.  I my calculator (an HP48) I can point to
specific subexpressions and apply operations to them, like factor,
distribute, changing forms, etc.

How do I collect the x's together in parens, the y's in parens, and
complete the squares?  Doing it on paper defeats the point!  I want to
learn how to "do math" using this tool.  That's more than just asking
"OK, what's X?".  It means manipulating things and arranging them,
getting to know how the symbols all fit together.


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