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ERIC Number: EJ1079514
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Using Surfer to Investigate Algebraic Surfaces
Grünberg, David; Matt, Andreas
Mathematics Teacher, v109 n3 p221-226 Oct 2015
Children love sculpting clay or building sand castles, creating objects in three dimensions before they have the motor skills to draw in two dimensions. Similar arguments applied to the study of curves and graphs in high school mathematics would suggest that students' work and calculation with shapes should move sequentially from concrete to more abstract thought. This "Technology Tips" article introduces three-dimensional algebraic surfaces to ninth-grade students, using Surfer®, open-source software that is available at Imaginary ( The immediate visual appeal of algebraic surfaces is apparent, and the developments in technology have made them easily accessible. Teachers found that students' attempts to gain control of the images created in playful exploration drive them to want to understand the underlying mathematics. A bibliography is included.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools; Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A