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Peer Review

Newton's Method Applet



Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 20, 2006 by Mathematics
Overview: This applet illustrates the use of Newton's Method to approximate solutions to a
particular equation involving the square of cosine. The user can choose an
initial approximation and then observe Newton's Method step-by-step.
Learning Goals: To illustrate the convergence of Newton’s Method to the solution of a particular
Target Student Population: Students in Calculus I.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Understanding the use of the first derivative in determining tangents to curves.

Type of Material: Simulation
Recommended Uses: In-class demonstration
Technical Requirements: A Java-enabled browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This applet does a good job of showing how the selection of different initial
points affects the convergence of Newton’s Method to a solution.
Concerns: The site could use an introductory paragraph explaining Newton’s Method and
perhaps providing a derivation of the basic formula.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This applet is a well-designed visual aid for a one-time in-class demonstration.
The applet is a nice, large size, the function is well-chosen with several
roots, and the viewing rectangle is quite appropriate.
Concerns: The function to which Newton’s Method is applied cannot be modified. That
obviously limits somewhat the effectiveness of the applet. Also, enhancements
such as a zoom capability and a counter for the number of iterations would have
been beneficial.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The applet is extremely easy to use.
Concerns: none

Other Issues and Comments: