Education Technology

CAS Unexpected Results

Published on 07/30/2005

Activity Overview

This activity highlights how Computer Algebra System (CAS) might misinterpret data if it is not entered in a standard correct manner.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 1 - 2 from the attached PDF file for the class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    In this activity, students will:

  • Understand that to denote multiplication between two expressions, the multiplication symbol needs to be used, failing which, CAS interprets the expressions as a variable name
  • Realize that CAS produces results not in the same order as that produced by the Quadratic Formula
  • Recognize the fact that CAS will express things in slightly different forms than that produced by conventional methods
  • Understand that solving trigonometric equations using CAS results in emphasizing the issue of multiple results
  • After the Activity

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary