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Graphing Calculator (GC) is built to create graphs of functions and
relationships that you type into its command line area. GC is a powerful
program, yet is remarkably easy to use. GC lets you use, with a few
exceptions, standard mathematical notation. You do not program GC. Rather,
you type mathematical statements. GC interprets what you typed, then
represents what you typed graphically. It creates graphical
representations of what you typed by *plotting ordered pairs or
ordered triplets* of numbers *that make what you typed true*.

The animation in Figure 3.3.1 illustrates GC’s basic capabilities. GC will do far more than the basics. To see all that GC can do, select Demo/Full Demo in GC.

Review this list of GC’s built-in conventions before playing Figure 3.3.1 or GC’s demo:

- GC interprets statements involving x, y, or both x and y as requesting it to plot, in a two-dimensional Cartesian (rectangular) coordinate system, all pairs of real numbers (x, y) that make the statement true.

- GC interprets statements involving r, θ, or both r and θ as requesting it to plot, in a two-dimensional polar coordinate system, all pairs of real numbers (r, θ) that make the statement true.

- GC interprets statements involving z and either, or both, x and y as requesting it to plot, in a three-dimensional Cartesian (rectangular) coordinate system, all triplets of real numbers (x, y, z) that make the statement true.

- GC also includes conventions for graphing in coordinate systems other than rectangular and polar. We will introduce them as they are needed.

*Figure 3.3.1. Basic capabilities of GC.
Each graph is composed of points whose coordinates make the typed
statement true.*

*Move your cursor away from the animation to make the control bar
disappear.*