Tuesday, April 2, 2013

LIMACON 2013: SAGE Advice - Let's replace TI-83s???

I was a guest speaker at LIMACON 2013 today. What you will find below is a mix of my experience preparing for LIMACON this year and an update of all the materials I created for and during the talk including a screencast! It's all about coding in math, science and computer science classes in High School! Take a look at this site too.


LIMACON 2013 is March 15th at SUNY Old Westbury and I have to get my presentation together! My problem is that I have too much material. Do I speak about "SAGE Advice: preCalculus" or "SAGE Advice: Calculus?" Do I base it on all my pretests or make a packet of samples? 

My plan was to speak on how I used SAGE in preCalculus this year in place of a TI-83/84 Graphing Calculator. I never got to use SAGE in preCalculus, however. I tried to introduce SAGE and Python slowly and ween the students off the Graphing Calculator. That was a huge mistake. They never wanted to get rid of the Graphing Calculator. So, I'm presenting on what I'll do differently next year! I will start day one with only SAGE in class. I have taken this approach in my preComputer Science Honors class with great success. Further, SAGE is a viable alternative in preCalculus as this course does not have an exit exam such as a Regents or AP requiring the Graphing Calculator. SAGE is great for doing High School as well as College and advanced mathematics. SAGE is a free alternative to Mathematica and MATLAB available online. Why not show our students how to code a bit in Python and use more modern technology such as a CAS (Computer Algebra System)? 

So, I've been looking at some preTest review sheets we had over the course of this year reflecting our preCalculus curriculum and coding some SAGE snippets to share. I'm trying to solve preTest1A-preTest12A with SAGE and Python. I'll record a screencast of the presentation if I can hook up my laptop correctly. In November, I'm speaking at T^3 Molloy so I can do Calculus then. 

Here's my SAGE Solutions:
preTEST1A Coordinate Geometryhttps://sage.math.clemson.edu:34567/home/pub/404/
preTEST2A Linear Functions https://sage.math.clemson.edu:34567/home/pub/405/
preTEST4A Polynomial Functions https://sage.math.clemson.edu:34567/home/pub/406/
preTEST5A Exponents and Logarithms
preTEST6-7A Trig Identities
preTEST8A Law of Sines and Cosines
preTEST9 Vectors in 2D and 3D
preTEST10A Conics and Polar
preTEST11A Matrix Algebra
preTEST12A Sequences and Series

Here's a handout from my LIMACON presentation:

Here's the preTests I'm working with:

I've also been invited to speak for T^3 at Molloy College in November!

Somewhere in my ScreenCast above I said something like:
I've been teaching - 
Programming since 1975
High School Math and Science since 1984
AP Calculus and CompSci since 1993
Linux Clusters since 2002
and SAGE since 2011.

What I should have said was:
I've been teaching with -
BASIC since 1975
Pascal since 1984
C/C++ since 1993
Java since 2002
and Python since 2011!

Based on the pattern above, it seems that I change what I'm teaching approximately every 9 years or so.  I wonder what 2020 will bring?

Well, that's all folks! I hope you got something out of all the above.

Generally Speaking,


  1. You mean to replace Ziggy, Hal and Selma!?

    1. Yup, sorry to say it, but these guys have gotta go:
      TI-81 = O-B-Wan
      TI-82 = Klaatu
      TI-83 = Ziggie
      TI-84 = Fantastic 4
      TI-85 = Johnny 5
      TI-86 = Selma (renamed Spock)
      TI-89 = Hal
      TI-92 = Colossus
      TI-nSpire = Dr. Neville
      (these are all my nick names based on SciFi references)