Prior to interactive whiteboards and graphing software it often took a considerable amount of class time to construct graphs on the traditional chalk board. This is certainly an area devices and software have been hugely beneficial. Through the revised second level syllabus, Project Maths, students are gaining a deeper understanding of storytelling , problem-solving and explaining solutions using sketches and graphs.
Throughout the roll out of Project Maths Post-Primary Math teachers were given training on GeoGebra. Training material can be accessed via the Project Maths website. GeoGebra is now freely accessible as an app for iPad , Android and Windows 8 tablet devices. GeoGebra is extremely rich with functionality and is a powerful tool for the simplest to the most complex of problems.
However, using a Surface Pro 3 I wanted a graphing app that allowed optimise the use of my digitiser pen. A search around the app store didn’t disappoint – I found FluidMath. At the moment there is an extended free trial period for Windows 8 users. FluidMath was not completely new, I had used the FluidGraph2014 app on the iPad. (If you do have an iPad I suggest you buy a stylus for handwriting on the screen – great cheap options in the EuroGiant stores. ) I definitely was a fan already.
FluidMath allows you to graph, create sliders, animations and tables from handwritten maths. It also can be used to solve inequalities and equations. FluidMath can handle plotting coordinates to graphing asymptotes, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, equations and inequalities. You can graph a number of functions on the same axes- great for teaching simultaneous equations, intersection of functions, perpendicular slopes etc. .
Both FluidMath and FluidGraph2014 are by Fluidity Software. Fluidity software have a number of apps and programs which run on iPad, Tablet PCs and interactive whiteboards including Promethean boards. While it does not have the depth and breadth of functionality of GeoGebra in the mathematical sense it does have simplicity. For student purposes it does offer itself of to a vast amount of the course content.. I would have no hesitation recommending it for use within a primary classroom with younger students. It is especially developed toward tablet PC users with a digitiser or stylus meaning if you can write you can use it.
Consider having students discover properties of quadratic or cubic graphs by examining different functions themselves. A simple exercise could use FluidMath to graph a few specified functions and have the students feedback some observations with their evidence.
It is quite clear this product has been developed with teachers, students and the modern classroom at the centre of the process. One of the great features of the FluidMath app , my personal favourite, is the ease you can create sliders with. It’s so simple it allows for practical classroom use. Teachers don’t want to get bogged down in training students on a piece of software , especially in exam years. This app allows teachers and students get stuck into the concepts or the lesson without the fuss of navigating the software itself.
FluidMath is an engaging and effective teaching and learning tool. Visit Fluidity Software’s online gallery or YouTube channel for examples and ideas.By exploring functions and geometry with FluidMath students felt more confident when they were asked to construct and interpret graphs themselves from the traditional questions in textbooks and exam papers. What’s more when they ran into difficulty with a problem algebraically they began to automatically look to graphing to put them on the right path; using problem solving skills. The right software or apps are what make devices powerful teaching and learning tools.