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Re: [seul-edu] Graphing games

    Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't thought of a drawing program. I have GIMP, but haven't heard of sketch. Any idea where I can download it? 
Dave Prentice
-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Hlavacek <jhlavacek@sf.edu>
To: seul-edu@seul.org <seul-edu@seul.org>
Date: Thursday, December 07, 2000 2:20 AM
Subject: Re: [seul-edu] Graphing games

On Wed, Dec 06, 2000 at 10:07:44PM -0600, Dave Prentice wrote:
>    To all,
>        I have some really slow freshmen who have a hard time in algebra
>    class connecting ordered pairs with points on a Cartesian coordinate
>    system.

Gee, that sure sounds familiar.

>    Does anybody know of a game that helps teach coordinate
>    graphing? I was thinking of something like Battleship that would
>    require you to specify ordered pairs instead of A4, B6, etc.. It would
>    be nice too if they could play either against the computer or else
>    against each other from different computers.

I don't know about any such game (well, there is matritsa, but that
wouldn't work, it's for little kids, and I think even most kids would
find it rather boring.  And it's not really finished, either.), but one
thing you could try is to use a drawing program.  Both gimp and sketch
have rulers on the sides of theirs canvases.  Sketch is better because
its coordinate system is like standard Cartesian system, with the origin
in the lower left corner of a page, so x increases to the right, and y
increases up.  Gimp has the origin in the upper left corner, and y
increases down, so it could confuse them rather than help.  Gimp has
little marks on the rulers which are synchronized with the cursor.
Sketch does not have markers like that, but you can turn on crosshair
cursor. Both programs show the coordinates of the cursor on their status

What you can do is give your students an encoded picture, something like
polyline: (10,10)->(10,20)->(20,20)->(20,10)->(10,10)
polyline: (10,20)->(15,25)->(20,20)
They would have to plot the polylines (you would have to show them how
to do that with sketch or gimp) defined by the given points, and get a
picture of a house.  Of course you could do something more exciting than
a house.

They can see the coordinates on the rulers, and in addition to that also
on the status bar, so they would have a lot of quick feedback.

Later you could even add some other objects, like
circle: center (3,5), radius 2

It would probably be possible to write a python script for sketch that
would take a simple picture and generate the instructions automatically.

Jan Hlavacek                                            (219) 434-7566
Department of Mathematics                             Jhlavacek@sf.edu
University of Saint Francis               http://www.sf.edu/jhlavacek/