The intent of this section is to provide you with some basic tools that may help in your understanding of concepts in algebra, trigonometry and calculus. Please read the notes before using the tool and this will probably reduce the amount of frustation you experience when actually using the tool.

a) A Function Plotter (Notes for Use)

b) The Quadratic Formula

Some points worth considering before using the function plotter

  1. When entering a function use the variable x. Press the Enter key or the "Draw" key and the graph will be plotted. Repeat for each graph to be analyzed. Each graph drawn will be of a different color.
  2. Notation that must be used - (if you get a syntax error check if you may have made one of the following types of errors).
    1. * (asterisk) - must be used to indicate any and all types of multiplication (3x is the wrong format, 3*x is the correct format).
    2. ^ (power or exponent symbol) - if using a fractional exponent may sure that it is included in a set of ( ).
  3. When graphing some special functions you must remember to place the expression part within a set of ( ).These functions include: "abs" (absolute value), sqrt (square root), sin, cos, tan, asin (arcsine - inverse of sin), acos (arccosine - inverse of cos), atan (arctangent - inverse of tan), and log. You may wish to explore the following: ceil, floor and round.
  4. Symbols: e (the number e or 2.7183..) and pi (the number equal to 22/7 or 3.1416)
  5. Commands:
    1. '<<' or the Escape key will recall the previously entered equations in reverse order.
    2. The "Cursor" button allows you to switch on or off the coordinates of the cursor. These coordinates are located in the upper left hand corner of the graph.
    3. As expressions are entered they are displayed in thee lower hand side of the graph. the "Exprs." button switches this feature on or off.
    4. To zoom out press the "Zoom Out" button rescaling by a factor of 1/2 in both directions. "Reset" restores the original scale and "Undo" undoes the previous scaling.
    5. To zoom in simply click on graph and drag mouse releasing mouse when required. The horizontal and vertical scales work independnet of one another. "Reset" restores the original scale and "Undo" undoes the previous scaling.
    6. To clear entered equations: a) to clear the last graph press the "last graph" button, b) to clear a particular graph use the small trianlges up or down to select appropriate graph and then press "Graph No." button and c) to clear all graphs press "All Graphs" button.
  6. Limitations
    1. To many magnifications may result in reduced accuracy
    2. A graph may become biased (ie square of negative numbers)
    3. A syntax error may not be picked up