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Wolfram|Alpha Activity - Topic, Sequences and Series - Intermediate Algebra Activity 10

# Wolfram|Alpha Activity - Topic, Sequences and Series - Intermediate Algebra Activity 10

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Technology is an important part of learning mathematics. For decades, graphing calculators were the primary tool used to accomplish this. Upon completion of college, however, students rarely use or see the need for these devices. A growing trend exists instead towards computers, smart phones and other devices running Internet software that has become extremely powerful, easy to use and low-cost or free of charge. Effective mathematics instruction should keep up with this trend by incorporating these types of programs. It will benefit students three ways: (1) introduce students to the latest tools of science and technology; (2) provide students with life skills that are more likely to apply to the real world; and (3) reinforce concepts of the mathematics involved in their coursework.

Wolfram|Alpha represents one of the most exciting, broadly applicable, powerful and easy to use of all the computational programs available. About one-third of the questions in these Intermediate Algebra activities teach input and command syntax; one-third emphasizes answer interpretation; and one-third reinforces the concepts and material of Intermediate Algebra. The projects are meant to be started after finishing the corresponding chapter(s) in the students' textbook.
Technology is an important part of learning mathematics. For decades, graphing calculators were the primary tool used to accomplish this. Upon completion of college, however, students rarely use or see the need for these devices. A growing trend exists instead towards computers, smart phones and other devices running Internet software that has become extremely powerful, easy to use and low-cost or free of charge. Effective mathematics instruction should keep up with this trend by incorporating these types of programs. It will benefit students three ways: (1) introduce students to the latest tools of science and technology; (2) provide students with life skills that are more likely to apply to the real world; and (3) reinforce concepts of the mathematics involved in their coursework.

Wolfram|Alpha represents one of the most exciting, broadly applicable, powerful and easy to use of all the computational programs available. About one-third of the questions in these Intermediate Algebra activities teach input and command syntax; one-third emphasizes answer interpretation; and one-third reinforces the concepts and material of Intermediate Algebra. The projects are meant to be started after finishing the corresponding chapter(s) in the students' textbook.

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Additional Topics 1 Intermediate Algebra Activities Using WA

WA

Activity

#

10
‐‐

Topics:

Sequences

and

Series

Type

"3,

6,

12,

24,

...”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Use

the

results

to

the

following

questions.

1.

Does

WA

recognize

this

as

a

possible

sequence?

2.

Is

this

an

arithmetic

sequence,

an

arithmetic

series,

a

geometric

sequence,

a

geometric

series,

or

none

of

these?

Why?

3.

What

is

the

formula

for

this

sequence?

Type

“5,

1,
3,
7,

...”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Use

the

results

to

the

following

questions.

4.

Does

WA

recognize

this

as

a

possible

sequence?

5.

Is

this

an

arithmetic

sequence,

an

arithmetic

series,

a

geometric

sequence,

a

geometric

series,

or

none

of

these?

Why?

6.

What

is

the

formula

for

this

sequence?

Type

“4,

20,

100,

500,

...”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Use

the

results

to

the

following

questions.

7.

What

is

the

formula

for

this

sequence?

8.

What

is

the

9
th

term

of

this

sequence?

9.

Type

“4

+

20

+

100

+

500

+

+

1,562,500”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Is

this

an

arithmetic

sequence,

an

arithmetic

series,

a

geometric

sequence,

a

geometric

series,

or

none

of

these?

Why?

10.

The

large

symbol

is

the

Greek

capital

letter

sigma

meaning

“sum”

in

mathematics.

What

is

the

sum

of

the

first

nine

terms

of

this

sequence?

Type

“fibonacci

sequence”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Use

the

results

to

the

following

questions.

11.

What

are

the

first

eleven

terms

n

in

the

Fibonacci

sequence?

12.

Click

on

“use

as

a

word

What

is

the

definition

of

the

Fibonacci

sequence?

13.

Do

the

results

from

#11

above

match

the

definition

above?

Additional Topics 2 Intermediate Algebra Activities Using WA

Type

“primes

<=

100”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

Use

the

results

to

the

following

questions.

14.

How

many

prime

numbers

are

there

less

than

or

equal

to

100?

15.

Type

“130
th

prime”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

130
th

prime

number?

Write

down

a

couple

of

the

interesting

properties

this

number

has.

Topics:

Complex

Numbers

To

help

us

find

the

square

root

of

negative

numbers

the

imaginary

unit

=

is

used.

Pure

imaginary

numbers

and

complex

numbers

(part

real,

part

imaginary)

actually

have

an

application

in

real

life,

to

compare

the

timing

of

electrical

voltage

peaks

with

current

peaks.

16.

Type

”i^2”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

17.

Type

“i^3”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

18.

Type

“i^4”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

19.

Type

“i^5”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

Do

you

see

the

pattern?

20.

Type

“i^43”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

21.

Type

“sqrt(
16)“

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

22.

Type

“sqrt(
18)“

What

is

the

result?

How

did

WA

get

their

result?

Show

your

work.

23.

Type

“(4
sqrt(
12))

/

2”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

How

did

WA

get

their

result?

Show

your

work.

24.

Type

“(2

+

3)

(
3

–

5)”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

How

did

WA

get

their

result?

Show

your

work.

25.

Type

“(3

–

7)^4”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

What

is

the

result?

26.

Type

“(4

+

3
)

/

(1

–

3
)”

into

the

WA

search

engine.

How

did

WA

get

their

result?

Show

your

work.

Topics:

Conic

Sections