Thursday, July 9, 2015

ARadiclalSimp app

ARadicalSimp by Walter Kissach is a free app that has both an instructional part and a calculator to help students learn to simplify radicals. This app covers both radicals and quadratic equations in detail.  Each section comes with a guide which is actually an indepth explanation of the material that is presented in small chunks. 

Each sub section has examples and a calculator that breaks down the radical into its exact answer with the radical sign rather than giving a decimal approximation. 

I like this because it reinforces the idea of using radicals.  Yes, I know people are using decimals more and more but I keep trying to have my students understand that most radicals are irrational and not rational

The calculator shows the actual break down from beginning to end.  This is a way of reinforcing the material.  I know my students are going to pretty much just copy the answer down but I plan to require them to include a small write up explaining the process.  It might look something like this

"124 is 4 times 31.  You can take the square root of 4 and it is 2 so it moves outside the radical sign and the answer is 2 times the square root of 31."  I hope this makes them slow down and actually look at the material.

 The quadratic section gives students a nice explanation and covers just about covers all the basics so it could be used as a way of introducing or building on prior knowledge or used to scaffold a students knowledge.  I have four of his free apps and I plan to check them all out.  Right now, it looks like much of the material in three overlaps but I'll know more.  I did review one of these apps earlier and when I review the next, I'll try to add a link to it and this one.