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Welcome to Fostering Algebraic Thinking with Casio Technology.

This book includes many meaningful investigations that use the Casio PRIZM graphing calculator to foster students’ algebraic thinking. The investigations are written to both help students experience the value and power of mathematics, and to help them develop a greater understanding of many fundamental concepts in algebra – most notably, the concept of function.

To do so, the investigations use the Casio PRIZM to engage students in modeling data using mathematical functions to represent, analyze, and interpret trends in the real world. For example, students use the PRIZM to model data on the supply and demand of medical doctors in Michigan, the results of an aerial count of elephants in Chad, and the acceleration due to gravity on all of the planets in our solar system.

The Casio PRIZM graphing calculator for which this volume has been written is, quite frankly, amazing. Selling for significantly less than most of the competition, the PRIZM is also more intuitive and provides some special functions, including dynamic graphing, spreadsheet capabilities, a choice of exponential models, a picture library, and COLOR!, that others don’t have. If you are not already familiar with the Casio PRIZM, then we think that you will be exceptionally pleased with its ease of use, its power, and the value it can add to your classroom.

As with all instructional tools, the use of graphing calculators should have a specific purpose. Certainly, for some lessons, the calculator merely speeds up the process and improves accuracy, and, for other lessons, calculators should be turned off. However, in many lessons, the graphing calculator can be a tremendous help for students in understanding, connecting, and mastering underlying concepts. This can be achieved in different ways. A graphing calculator can provide multiple representations of ideas, can help students overcome barriers they may have with certain symbolic manipulations, and can offer a tool for engaging students in &ldquowhat if” scenarios. As you work your way through this book, we hope that you will find, as we have, the tremendous benefits that the Casio PRIZM graphing calculator can bring to your students.

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