This program produces smooth graphs, as well as animations, of a wide variety of functions such as y=f(x), x=f(y), lines, ellipses, parametric curves, implicit functions, and families of functions. For the displayed functions' tangent lines, approximation of areas with Riemann rectangles and trapezoids can be included. There are also options for differential equations (numerical solutions, slope field) and data representation (histograms, etc.).
Axes can be scaled in any scale, including multiples of pi. Visual zoom features are available and buttons allow the user to make the scale on one axis equal to that on the other.
Graphs can be labeled with text and formulas, which can be placed in boxes, ovals, etc.
The program with save, print and export functions disabled is freely downloadable. For a registration fee these features can be enabled. The registered version saves files in a special format and allows the export of graphics as bmp, gif, jpg or png files or metafiles.
The Web site provides the free downloadable version of the program, tutorials for using the program, and examples of several graphs and animations.
Type of Material:
Creation of graphics for texts or presentations and the graphical exploration of functions.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Graphical representation of mathematical data that can be represented in an x,y-coordinate system.
Target Student Population:
This tool can be used from high school through graduate school and beyond.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Cartesian coordinates and the definition of functions of one variable.
Functions are plotted smoothly and correctly. Axes are given in the form mathematicians are used to (left to right arrow for the x-axis, bottom to top arrow for the y-axis).
When graphing the function if(x>6.28,1,0)*cos(x) the program produced a vertical line at 6.28 which is not part of the graph. This problem can be remedied by going into the options part of the mathematical objects properties and setting the discontinuity limit equal to 1. Reviewers did not find this remedy through the program, but the author was fast and courteous to explain the fix.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Any function plotter can be used in multiple ways in a class. The particular strength of this plotter is that the curves automatically look very close to the smooth curves that students should visualize.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Menu-driven program allows very easy implementation of graphs. The sheer number of features that can be adjusted is managed very effectively. Tutorials (using Flash animation) are available on the Web site for several basic functions.
The authors native language is French. The English version thus may have a few misspellings. These do not detract from the effective use of the program. The author requests to be informed of errors in his English so that he can adjust the requisite files.
With the free unregistered version, when trying to access the Web site through the help feature, an internal script error was received and the user was then taken to the French version of the Web site instead of the English version of the Web site. The program must be downloaded to be used. The graphs themselves can not be created using the Web site only. However,
the download process is very simple.
Other Issues and Comments:
One reviewer (Schroeder) immediately used the registered version of Graphe Easy to update the graphics in the textbooks he wrote. This entailed replacing over 400 (!) graphs, but the effort was well worth it. The look of the Graphe Easy figures can hardly be improved upon.
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