This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help... - Hewlett Packard

This is a discussion on This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help... - Hewlett Packard ; OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do again, because the real world uses decimal points?! Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he ...

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

  1. This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging
    variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do
    again, because the real world uses decimal points?!

    Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he is getting into that math--
    pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    the heavy lifting


  2. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    wolf_759@yahoo.com wrote:
    >
    > pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    > step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    > intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    > the heavy lifting


    My first guess for a quick crash course would be the manual. My 48G
    covers the topic quickly - I don't have a 50....

    But, one question. How is this going to help your son learn algebra?
    How is seeing the computer do something, even if it is step by step,
    going to teach the thought process? I remember learning this stuff from
    the teacher and the book - my parents didn't remember it either....

    - Kurt

  3. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Nov 9, 10:29 am, wolf_...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging
    > variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do
    > again, because the real world uses decimal points?!
    >
    > Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he is getting into that math--
    > pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    > step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    > intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    > the heavy lifting


    "The real world uses decimal points" has nothing to do with finding
    the value of x such that x^2 + 5x + 4 = 0, or knowing that there are
    two of them. If you have decided that your son will go to vocational
    school, then algebra may indeed be useless. But if he might end up
    doing anything technical or scientific, being able to manipulate
    simple equations and extract a value of a variable from the given
    equation, by hand, might be very useful. It just depends whether he
    is, or becomes, interested in how the world (governed by math,
    physics, chemistry, biology ...) works.
    So, rather than communicating that all that "blah blah blah" is just a
    dumb ol' hoop you have to jump through, you would do him a service in
    pointing out the fun of such activity. Perhaps a math tutor, who would
    have some appreciation of how much fun it really is, would be a good
    investment.
    Irl


  4. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    > But, one question. How is this going to help your son learn algebra?
    > How is seeing the computer do something, even if it is step by step,
    > going to teach the thought process? I remember learning this stuff from
    > the teacher and the book - my parents didn't remember it either....


    I think it was more "dad" wants to have it step by step so he can
    remember how to do it for checking work/teaching son. Not to give to
    son to use.

    TW




  5. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Sat, 10 Nov 2007 06:30:39 -0800, Irl wrote:

    >On Nov 9, 10:29 am, wolf_...@yahoo.com wrote:
    >> OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging
    >> variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do
    >> again, because the real world uses decimal points?!
    >>
    >> Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he is getting into that math--
    >> pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    >> step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    >> intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    >> the heavy lifting

    >
    >"The real world uses decimal points" has nothing to do with finding
    >the value of x such that x^2 + 5x + 4 = 0, or knowing that there are
    >two of them. If you have decided that your son will go to vocational
    >school, then algebra may indeed be useless. But if he might end up
    >doing anything technical or scientific, being able to manipulate
    >simple equations and extract a value of a variable from the given
    >equation, by hand, might be very useful. It just depends whether he
    >is, or becomes, interested in how the world (governed by math,
    >physics, chemistry, biology ...) works.
    >So, rather than communicating that all that "blah blah blah" is just a
    >dumb ol' hoop you have to jump through, you would do him a service in
    >pointing out the fun of such activity. Perhaps a math tutor, who would
    >have some appreciation of how much fun it really is, would be a good
    >investment.
    >Irl



    OK, pinheads, enough preaching. For one, you totally jumped to the
    worn conclusion, but hey, whoever let that get in the way of getting
    on their internet soap box? I'm an engineer, thank you very much, a
    MS in Aero, not that matters. So, stick it up your pretentious ass if
    you think that makes me or anyone else better than someone at a
    vocational school. What's wrong with Vo tech?

    I what the ability to CHECK his math, especially when I have a baby, a
    full time job and don't want to spend too much time checking his
    homework.

    Thanks for the help, douchebag.


    Mark Wilson

    Change .org to .net to reply by e-mail

    "If we lose the war in the air, we lose the war, and we lose it quickly."
    --Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

    http://mysite.verizon.net/modelwerks/

    RAAM FAQ:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/modelwerks...FAQ/index.html

  6. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    > OK, pinheads, enough preaching. For one, you totally jumped to the

    Hope I wasn't included in that. I was going to answer when the
    question first came up yesterday but didn't have time. Figured
    someone else would have answered before I got around to it.

    The step-by-step is pretty much useless. The only thing it works well
    for is derivatives. Algebraic manipulations arent done step by step.
    The only way to do it step by step is to manually divide, multiply and
    so on in the equation writer. I'd recommend getting a review book for
    algebra and using the calc to check once you remember what is going
    on.

    TW



  7. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    Mark Wilson wrote:
    >
    > OK, pinheads, enough preaching. For one, you totally jumped to the
    > worn conclusion, but hey, whoever let that get in the way of getting
    > on their internet soap box? I'm an engineer, thank you very much, a
    > MS in Aero, not that matters. So, stick it up your pretentious ass if


    Management, huh? I think you need to chill out.

    > I what the ability to CHECK his math, especially when I have a baby, a
    > full time job and don't want to spend too much time checking his
    > homework.


    I still don't see how this helps teach anything to your son.

    a) Most math books have the answer for either odd or even questions.
    b) Son see's engineer father who has no interest in algebra - less
    motivation for son to see it of any use in the real world (I'm an AOE
    too and I use it all the time).
    c) Most algebra problems at that level are single step, so going from
    (a^2 - b^2) to (a - b)(a + b) in one step will teach him what,
    exactly? The thought process is what matters, so checking the answer
    and seeing it is wrong accomplishes nothing.
    d) Your son will learn more watching you actually work a problem out.

    I think you'll be surprised just how quickly some of that stuff comes back
    to you. I ended up getting diverted into software development for a number
    of years before clawing my way back into engineering - the basics come
    back pretty quick.

    - Kurt

  8. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Sat, 10 Nov 2007 17:28:21 -0800, TW wrote:

    >> OK, pinheads, enough preaching. For one, you totally jumped to the

    >
    >Hope I wasn't included in that. I was going to answer when the
    >question first came up yesterday but didn't have time. Figured
    >someone else would have answered before I got around to it.
    >
    >The step-by-step is pretty much useless. The only thing it works well
    >for is derivatives. Algebraic manipulations arent done step by step.
    >The only way to do it step by step is to manually divide, multiply and
    >so on in the equation writer. I'd recommend getting a review book for
    >algebra and using the calc to check once you remember what is going
    >on.
    >
    >TW
    >


    You were absolutely not included. I just for some reason found the
    superior attitude of that one dork to be especially infuriating.
    Maybe it was the implication that Vo Tech folks are nearly quite as
    human as he thinks he is...

    Thanks for the tip. I'll just have to slog through it.


    Mark Wilson

    Change .org to .net to reply by e-mail

    "If we lose the war in the air, we lose the war, and we lose it quickly."
    --Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

    http://mysite.verizon.net/modelwerks/

    RAAM FAQ:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/modelwerks...FAQ/index.html

  9. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Nov 9, 7:29 am, wolf_...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging
    > variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do
    > again, because the real world uses decimal points?!
    >
    > Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he is getting into that math--
    > pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    > step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    > intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    > the heavy lifting


    If you have any friends whose children went to school in other
    countries, like Singapore, see if you can get one of their textbooks.
    So many of the math, algebra books published here in the US are
    garbage. It's no wonder the US is so far behind in basic math skills.
    I'm horrible at math, always have been, always will be.
    I took a look at a math text book that is in English, but published in
    Singapore. It's amazing how clear some of the concepts are explained,
    compared to the crap I had to struggle with when I was in
    gradeschool.. My wife is from Eastern Europe and said the same when
    she took classes here.



  10. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Nov 9, 10:29 am, wolf_...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > OK, all that crap you do--messing with fractions, rearranging
    > variables, blah blah blah? The stuff you do in school then never do
    > again, because the real world uses decimal points?!
    >
    > Well, my son is in the 7th grade, and he is getting into that math--
    > pre algebra. Where can I get spun up quickly on using the step by
    > step algebraic manipulation powers of the HP-50? I really don't
    > intend to repeat the 7th grade, so I'm planning on letting the HP do
    > the heavy lifting


    Hey, cool! I'm doing pretty much the same thing with my daughter in
    10th grade Alg 2/Trig. Here are some really quick suggestions -- not
    necessarily what you asked for, but here's how it's worked for me in
    practice.

    First, it's worthwhile getting a (dead trees!) Schaum's outline that
    covers the topics your kid needs. Using today's textbooks requires a
    bit more sleuthing and cobweb-clearing than it sounds like you have
    time. Schaum's shows full problem solutions, step-by-step, and and the
    answers. Then it gives problem sets -- with all the answers, right
    there on the same page. Then it gives supplementary problem sets -- I
    forget whether it's with or without answers.

    Anyway, that can help you clear the cobwebs and also be a great source
    of extra problems if you "ruin" them as exercises by working the
    assigned ones through with your kid. (Also, doing this, you will
    acquire a fine understanding of which areas he/she needs more
    practice, so come to the table well-armed!)

    Back to the calculator -- the "step by step" thing in the HPs is
    mostly for integration and differentiation, I believe. Run of the mill
    polynomials are just simplified down -- it's not intended to teach you
    anything.

    However -- there are some things to do with your HP that will make it
    pretty good as a support tool for your efforts.

    First, check the flags. In MODE/CAS, be sure "Numeric", "Approx", and
    "Complex" are unchecked and "Rigorous" is checked. (If you were doing
    complex solutions, I'd have a program for you to switch between
    "normal real life decimal" and "full-on hand-cranked answers for
    humans" modes.) These will keep things in fractional form rather than
    cranking out endless decimals, saving you the step of computing your
    kid's answers for comparison (hence "Approx"; and more important, when
    you enter "pi", it stays "pi" unless you really want to ->NUM it.
    hence "Numeric".

    Next, Equation Writer is your Friend. Normally, COLLECT and EXPAND
    transform the entire symbolic expression, but you can run these from
    inside Equation Writer and -- the magic -- they will only affect the
    highlighted portion of the expression, not the entire thing. This
    helps you avoid missing the intermediate stuff that you and your kid
    will need to talk about.

    Here's another cool tip: ->Q. That's the function that turns decimals
    into quotients of integers. And -- believe it or not -- ->Q\pi (arrow,
    Q, pi-symbol) does the same thing but digs out the pi values and
    replaces them with the lowercase greek letter. OMG I can't tell you
    how useful that is...

    ....So useful, in fact, that one of my subsidiary menus in my custom
    menu hierarchy is defined just to make it easier to get to these:

    %%HP: T(3)A(R)F(.);
    \<< { { "A\<-\->N" {
    \<< BLEEP "Use \<- or \->." DISPMSG
    \>> $ALGF $NUMF } } { "\->Q(\pi)" { \->Q\pi PROPFRAC \->Q } }
    { "SIMPLIFY" SIMPLIFY } { "FACTOR" FACTOR } { "COLLECT" COLLECT }
    { "TSIMP" TSIMP } { "EQ\->" EQ\-> } { "EXLR" EXLR } { "FXND" FXND }
    { "DIVIS" DIVIS } { "SIMP2" SIMP2 } { "GCD" GCD } { "LCM" LCM }
    { "LVAL" LVAL } { "SUBST" SUBST } { "EMAT" EMAT } { } { "Main"
    $RDJM } } GCST
    \>>

    Left-shift "Modes" puts the machine in symbolic-mode-for-kid-helping
    and right-shift "Modes" puts it back in Dad-needs-to-crunch-numbers
    mode.

    Note that left-shift-Frac does the integer quotient, right-shift-Frac
    does that with extra pie, and unshifted, it expresses the thing as a
    proper fraction. ("Main" takes me back to the root of my custom
    hierarchy.)

    Oh, all right, here are the mode flippers. I keep these in HOME so
    they're accessible from anywhere. (I do the dirty work in a
    subdirectory so I don't need to clean anything up when I use the thing
    for my stuff.)

    Here's $ALGF:

    %%HP: T(3)A(R)F(.);
    \<< { -1 -2 -3 -22 -52 -79 -105 -114 -116 -119 -120 -128 -123 -125
    -128 61 } CF { -20 -21 -27 -99 -100 -103 -109 -111 -112 -113 -115
    -125 } SF "Flags set for algebra." DISPMSG
    \>>

    Here's $NUMF:

    %%HP: T(3)A(R)F(.);
    \<< { -1. -2. -3. -22. -27. -109. -105. -112 -115 -125. -128. } SF
    { -20. 21. -52. -79. -99. -100. -103. -111. -112. -113. -114. -116.
    -119 -120. -123. 61 } CF "Flags set for numeric calc." DISPMSG
    \>>

    ....and GCST, since it's used in the example:

    %%HP: T(3)A(R)F(.);
    \<< \-> mnu
    \<< PUSH HOME mnu MENU POP
    \>>
    \>>

    It makes things work properly when you're working in a subdirectory
    and flipping through custom menus defined in HOME.

    Hope some of this helps.

    Pedantry, anyone? :-)


  11. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    P.S. I hate to do this, but I have one more suggestion for you:

    Get on the TI site and buy yourself a TI-Nspire CAS calculator. Yeah,
    it's $160 or so. Yeah, it's TI. No, it won't be your primary computing
    device. No, you probably won't want to supply it to a 7th grader.

    Just consider this, though.

    The function graphs on that thing are amazing. One thing it does
    really, really well is shading inequalities. (Figured this one out
    myself -- it's not intuitive. In fact, the whole calculator is pretty
    much not intuitive and just plain nasty to navigate. But I digress...)
    You can stick a couple of line equations, or polynomials, in there,
    use less-than or greater than instead of an '=' sign, and dang if that
    machine doesn't draw perfectly zoomed, beautifully shaded graphs. And
    labelled ones. Readably labelled. (Have your reading glasses handy,
    though. "Pretty" is also part of "pretty small".)

    Yeah, you can do all the usual symbolic manipulation, but the machine
    has better control over step-by-stepping it and a more pedantic mode
    of interaction. But the really nice thing -- for what you need to do
    -- is that you can sit down with the kid's homework, punch in each
    problem, and save each problem's results in a way that makes reviewing
    your findings with your kid easier than you can imagine.

    The NSpires let you create a document (that's the whole homework
    assignment" and, within that, problems (one for each homework
    problem), and within each problem, separate pages (one for the
    calculator log, one for the graph, another one for the other graph
    when you want to show a variation, etc.)

    Then, once you've been through everything, you can sit down with the
    kid and say things like "see how you did that? This is what it's
    supposed to look like" and wave the thing in front of them. Or huddle
    over it together and mess around with it. Or whatever. And when the
    kid re-does a problem but still gets it wrong, you get to refer to all
    the steps you saved when you solved it so see where he/she went wrong
    further along in the problem.

    Which means that... if get so busy that you can't afford the time to
    go over the homework now and then, you can scan or copy the kid's work
    and do your prep work with the NSpire while you're somewhere else
    (waiting for a meeting to start, for instance) so that you can get
    through it all with the kid in the half hour that you *can* make
    available that evening. (Or something like that.)

    But -- keep the HP close at hand. As tempting as the TI may seem, the
    NSpire will be good for some things but the HP will be better for most
    everything else. Think of the NSpire as a $160 whiteboard with a
    "recording" feature.

    Was that on topic or off-topic?

    -^-rdj-^-


  12. Re: This is embarrassing, but need algebraic manipulation help...

    On Mon, 19 Nov 2007 12:02:20 -0800 (PST), rdj
    wrote:

    >But -- keep the HP close at hand. As tempting as the TI may seem, the
    >NSpire will be good for some things but the HP will be better for most
    >everything else.


    Really?.. .For what, for example?...

    A.L.

+ Reply to Thread