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CAS: Trainer Wheels for Algebra Using the TI-89

Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) can perform routine algebraic manipulations quickly and correctly using inbuilt algorithms. An application called Symbolic Math Guide (SMG) can be added to a TI89 to enable the CAS to be used to help students learn how to perform step-by-step algebraic manipulation. SMG supports students when learning to “do the same to both sides” to simplify expressions and for solving equations. SMG provides “trainer wheels” for solving, enabling students to focus on the process of solving, hopefully improving their ability to work with algebraic expressions and equations. This paper will explore how SMG could be used in middle school algebra and discuss some approaches being used in the new RITEMATHS ( Real World Problems and Information Technology Enhancing Mathematics) research project.

Ball, L. & Pierce, R. (2004) CAS: Trainer Wheels for Algebra Using the TI-89. In B. Tadich, P. Sullivan, S. Tobias, C. Breen (Eds.) Towards Excellence in Mathematics. Proceedings of the Forty-first Annual Conference of the Mathematical Association of Victoria, 13-21, ISBN 1-920892-55-9. Brunswick, VIC.

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