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Algebra Tutor
By: David Leithauser
The Algebra Tutor program teaches students how to manipulate algebraic equations from one form to another, such as converting an equation in the form Y=function of X into X=function of Y. The basic mathematical principle of such transformation is that if you have two quantities that are equal (the two sides of the equation), you can do anything to both sides and they will still be equal. The trick is finding exactly what operations to perform to convert the equation from its present form to the desired form.
Algebra Tutor teaches this skill by performing the operations, demonstrating and explaining each step. The program can use an equation provided by the student or can generate an equation of its own to solve. It is primarily intended for high school students who study algebra.
Operating Instructions
The Main Menu has six choices. To make a selection, just press the number corresponding to your choice. It is not necessary to press [RETURN].
The first four choices solve an equation provided by the user. The only difference is the amount of explanation the computer gives as it manipulates the equation. Number 1 gives the solution without any explanation. This would be for the student who has worked out the problem and merely wants to verify that his or her answer is correct. Number 2 manipulates the equation and shows the result of each step, but does not explain what the step was. Number 3 shows the result of each step and provides an explanation of what operation was performed. Number 4 is the same as number 3, except that the computer pauses until the user presses the space bar after each operation to allow the student as much time as necessary to study each step. Choices 1 thru 3 will allow the user to send the output to the printer.
If the user selects one of the first four Main Menu options, the computer will first ask for the equation to be solved. Type the equation and press [RETURN]. Typical equations would be Y=A*SIN(X^3) or A^(X+B)=SQR(Y-C). After you enter the equation, the computer will ask what variable to solve for. Enter the variable (such as X or Y) and press [RETURN]. The computer will solve the equation for the indicated variable.
Besides the variable and the equal sign, the equation may contain parentheses and the following operations.
+ Plus
- Minus
* Multiply
/ Divide
- Unitary negation
^ To the power
SIN() Sine
COS() Cosine
TAN() Tangent
ARCSIN() Arcsine
ARCCOS() Arccosine
ARCTAN() Arctangent
SQR() Square root
LOG() Natural logarithm
LOG10() Logarithm base 10
EXP() E (natural log base) to the power
There are limitations to the equations you can enter. The variable you are solving for can appear only once in the equation. Although the other variables in the equation can have several characters, the variable to solve for must be a single letter. Two adjacent operators must be separated be parentheses for clarity. For example, X^-2 must be written X^(-2) and A*-X must be written as A*(-X). MAthematical operators must be clearly stated, not implied. For example, 2X must be written as 2*X. All variables are converted to upper case by the program for consistency.
If you choose number 5 in the Main Menu, the program will generate an equation for you to solve. First it will ask you what difficulty level you want. Press a number from 1 to 8. It's not necessary to press [RETURN]. THe higher the number you choose, the more complicated the equation will be.
The computer will show you the equation in the form Y=function of X and will tell you to solve for X. The computer then asks you what level of explanation you want. The four levels of explanation are the same as the first four choices in the Main Menu. After you press the number of the level of explanation you want, the computer will solve the equation.
After the computer has solved the equation, whether it is one you gave it or computer generated, the computer will display the message "Finished". Press [ESC] for the Main Menu.
To Exit ALGEBRA TUTOR and return to UpTime choose option 6 from the main menu.
NOTE: When solving a long equation that requires many steps it is possible for the screen to scroll up.
Press [`]-[7] to run Algebra Tutor.
Files needed:
ALGEBRA TUTOR
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