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ERIC Number: EJ819414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0819-4564
Problem Solving in Calculus with Symbolic Geometry and CAS
Todd, Philip; Wiechmann, James
Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, v22 n2 p49-56 2008
Computer algebra systems (CAS) have been around for a number of years, as has dynamic geometry. Symbolic geometry software is new. It bears a superficial similarity to dynamic geometry software, but differs in that problems may be set up involving symbolic variables and constants, and measurements are given as symbolic expressions. Mathematical expressions can be copied back and forth between a symbolic geometry system and a CAS thus making it an interesting new tool for exploring mathematics and solving problems. In this paper, the authors illustrate the use of a symbolic geometry system applied to two classic optimisation problems, both drawn from "100 Great Problems of Elementary Mathematics". The first problem, "Regiomontanus' Optimisation Problem", is suitable for students at the upper secondary level. The second, "Fagnano's Perimeter Minimisation Problem", does involve some partial derivatives, and so would be more suitable for students at tertiary level. Their symbolic geometry system is "Geometry Expressions" (Saltire Software, 2008). In order to illustrate the flexibility of the CAS interface, in the first problem the authors use "Mathematica" (Wolfram Research, 2008), and in the second problem, they use "Maple" (Maplesoft, 2008). (Contains 10 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A