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Peer Review

Quadratic Functions

by Philippe Laval


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Nov 29, 2004 by Mathematics
Overview: This site is a sub collection of a larger set by Philippe Laval containing a
variety of explorations. It is a self-contained collection of Java Applets that
can be used in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Type of Material: Computation, graphics and simulation.
Recommended Uses: classroom demonstrations; student explorations
Technical Requirements: It requires a "Java-enabled" browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The Quadratic Functions applet investigates the relationship between the
coefficients of the quadratic function (in both standard and general form) and
the graph.
Target Student Population: Students in a beginning, intermediate or college algebra course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The applets are self-explanatory and could easily be used by any mathematics
student without assistance, however may be most effective if preceded by an
instructor demonstration and explanation of terms.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The Quadratic Functions page contains two applets: ?Standard Form: Role of
?a?, ?b?, and ?c?? and ?Vertex Form: Role of ?a?, ?h?, and ?k??. Its features
are best used initially as a demonstration by the instructor, followed by
student experimentation.

The applets allow the user to enter values for ?a?, ?b?, and ?c? for the
?Standard Form? applet and and ?a?, ?h?, and ?k? for the ?Vertex Form? applet
using a scroll bar. Accuracy to the tenth place is provided. As the scroll bar
is moved, the corresponding graph is simultaneously updated.
Concerns: As the scroll bar is moved the screen flickering can be an annoyance.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Both applets effectively allow the user to explore how changing the parameters
affects the parabola. The applets can be used to visually understand the
constants in the two forms of the quadratic.
Concerns: The applet does not provide background information on the mathematical concepts
or ask the students questions that would lead to specific conclusions. As a
result, the user must be given background information on the concepts to
effectively understand the purpose of the demonstration.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Students will need no explanation to use these applets, although there is an
itemized explanation available just below the applet.

The scroll bar allows easy entry of values for the constants. Right and left
arrows on the scroll bar assist the user in selecting specific values and
consecutive values accurate to the tenths place. The simultaneous appearance of
the corresponding graph allows the user to visualize the change in the graph
that occurs as the parameters are increased or decreased.
Concerns: The values shown for each of the constants are in textboxes that are not
editable. Either presenting these as labels or allowing the student to enter
values and having the graph adjust according to the entered values would make
the applet easier to use.

Other Issues and Comments: