Israeli mathematicians are taking math to where the kids are – their cell phones. The Institute for Alternative Education at the University of Haifa has unveiled downloadable graphing tools for cell phones.
You can fiddle with coefficients and watch what happens to the associated parabolas and hyperbolas; you can work on your graphical problem solving. The geo-curious can “experiment” with quadrilaterals; budding empiricists can fit curves to data; and calculescent students can work out derivatives and integrals.
All free for the downloading to your java-enabled phone. The site knows for a fact the modules work on a variety of Sony Ericsson and Nokia models and claim it ought to work on others.
As far as the Scribbler is concerned, this seems like a nifty idea (though tragically uncool, and I think that’s probably all that counts). At any rate, I fear I may be slipping down the wrong side of the technology gap to make much use of the software. You can play with the demo version on the Web site, but doing so just made my thumbs anxious.
Nevertheless, you’ve got to admire the places the good Israelis see this going:
A car is moving at a speed of 20 meters per second when the driver sees a ball rolling on the road. The driver’s reaction time is one second (reaction time is the time that passes between identifying the ball and pressing the brakes.) During that time the car continues at its constant speed. After the driver presses the brakes, the car decelerates for 7 seconds until it stops.
- Describe in a graph the distance the car traveled during from the time the driver saw the ball until the car stopped.
- What does the lower graph describe in this story?
- How would your graph change in each of the following situations: (1) the driver drove faster; (2) the driver was drunk; (3) it was a rainy day.