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Section 3.2
Graphing Calculator (GC)

If you have a registration number for GC,

If you do not have a registration number for GC,

After installing GC

Launch GC. Change its document properties as shown below. You can change them in the future to whatever properties please you.

Using Graphing Calculator

You might be accustomed to using your hand-held graphing calculator in mathematics courses. Graphing calculators today are powerful tools for numerical and symbolic calculations.

We will require you to use a computer program called Graphing Calculator (GC), and we do so with a specific goal.

GC allows you to type statements that appear on your screen as they would had you written them on paper. The difference between the mathematics on paper and the mathematics on your screen is that the statements on your screen are "live". GC will interpret the mathematics you have written according to standard mathematical conventions and meanings.

Statements you type in GC will represent a mathematical process or a product of a process. This is a powerful mathematical idea--that you think of mathematical statements as being representations--representations of relationships, processes, and products that processes produce.

But this power can lead to confusions.

GC will report an error if you type a statement that is mathematically invalid. Or, GC might produce something (a number or a graph) you did not anticipate when you type a statement that is conceptually faulty.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking "GC is hard to use". Focus instead on whether what you are trying to say is conceptually sound and whether you stated it validly in symbols. GC is easy to use. Writing valid and coherent mathematical statements can be hard.

If you have difficulty formulating what you are trying to say in symbols, then STOP and take that as your problem. State your thoughts in words before trying to represent them symbolically.

On the other hand, GC is a computer program, just like Microsoft Word. It has conventions built into it (e.g., press ctrl-L to get a subscript; press ctrl-9 in defining a function) that you must remember to use it effectively.

When GC does not work as you intend:

The "fix" for conceptual errors is to reflect on your thinking and your expression of it in symbols.

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