Workshop: The Use of Graphing Calculators and Computer Algebra Systems in the Mathematics Preparation of Middle School Mathematics Teachers.
Gary A. Harris
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX
Phone: (806) 742-2566
FAX: (806) 742-1112
E-Mail: .

We propose to present a workshop based on the materials developed by the presenter and used in the technology-based capstone mathematics course taught at Texas Tech University for prospective middle school mathematics teachers. The full set of materials are available at . A report on the initial use of them in the above mentioned course appears in The Electronic Proceedings of the Eight International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, . The courses has been taught subsequently three times by the presenter and one time each by four of his colleagues.

The workshop will take place in the PC lab where the participants will be introduced to the use of graphing calculators and computer algebra systems as vehicles for reviewing and reinforcing student understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts. In particular, participants will matriculate through sets of exercises chosen from the above materials involving topics from elementary number theory, algebra, analytic geometry, and calculus. In the process the participants will observe how different aspects of the two technologies can be exploited to achieve the goals of reviewing and reinforcing the related mathematics.

The particular “platforms” used in the workshop will be TI-86 calculators and the computer algebra system MAPLE. However the participants will need no prior experience with either. They will be expected, with minimal instruction but as much assistance form the presenter as necessary, to use the menus from the calculator and the online help features of the computer algebra system to complete the exercises. Of course the key to being able to do this is being familiar with the mathematical concepts and symbolism. Thus the participants should be, or at least one time have been, familiar with basic concepts from the above mentioned topics.

The workshop will conclude with an informal discussion on the potential effects of such technologies on mathematics education in elementary school, as well as on the mathematics preparation of future teachers at the college level. For example participants will be asked to respond to the following question: “Should students still be required to memorize the quadratic formula?” Finally, participants will be provided with copies of the reading list used for the course taught at Texas Tech University.

Schedule: Ayres 322 June 1 3:30-5:30