I was introduced to the Autograph program as a student teacher and I instantly
recognized its uses and advantages in a mathematics classroom. I have used it countless
times as a teacher to provide a visual anchor for numerous topics in the high school
Its versatility provides students and teachers with many opportunities to instantly
change graphs parameters that allow students to immediately prove and support their
conjectures. Autograph also creates excellent graphs that copy and paste beautifully into
tests or assignments.
I was ecstatic when my school purchased the upgraded 3-D version of Autograph.
At the time I was teaching the Math 11 advanced course and the 3-D Autograph program
allowed me to do things with my students that I had never been able to do. The Math 11A
course includes content pertaining to Visualization of Functions in 3-D and how linear
and polynomial functions relate to each other in three dimensions. This portion of the
curriculum is often left until the end of the course and unfortunately not covered. Time is
usually given as the primary reason for omitting this section. However, I feel that this is a
very difficult topic and not well represented in the text and supporting documents,
therefore making the teaching of this material extremely frustrating and often time
consuming. Luckily Autograph 3-D has remedied many of these issues. The software
allows student to compare functions in 2-D and simultaneously view the same functions
in 3-D, thus bridging the abstractness that students usually struggle with. The provincial
curriculum document suggested at least six hours of teaching time to cover several topics
in the Visualization of Functions in 3-D chapter. I, with the aid of Autograph 3-D,
covered these same topics in three hours. I reworked over 80% of the chapter as an
Autograph activity that students completed in the computer lab. The curriculum only
explores graphing linear functions but by the end of the lab activity students were
graphing parabolas and sinusoidal functions in three dimensions.
The Autograph software is incredibly user and student friendly. During the two
day lab activity I learned more from my students than I had taught myself! They felt so
empowered by the software that they enjoyed “playing” with it. I had students that
created boxes using planes and then placing spheres and ellipses inside those boxes so
that the only way you can see the sphere or ellipse was to use the zoom option that allows
you to pass through the objects.
The other option that I used in my classroom was the confidence interval
simulation. This is a topic that students find very difficult and once again Autograph
allowed my to add a quick visualization that concreted the topic for most students.
I would be incredibly disappointed to loose access to the Autograph software. It is
an excellent program that has countless applications and is presented in a way that
students not only remember but are not intimidated to use and explore.
Victoria A. Best
Halifax West High School
(902) 457-8900 ext. 4573247