<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/calculator-title.png” />Much to the chagrin of students and parents worldwide, it is not unheard of for graphing calculators to cost upwards of $100. Thanks to software, you have a full-featured graphing calculator that’s designed to work just like a hand-held calculator.
With a simple program from Microsoft named Microsoft Mathematics 4.0, you have the full power of a graphing calculator – and more – right at your computer.
Let’s go over some of the neat features this program provides and how it can help with homework or other math functions.
When you launch the program you have an interface that is very similar to any other graphing calculator. You can enter your numbers and calculations directly into the program by either pressing the buttons with your mouse or just typing it in.
Think of it as the built-in Windows ‘calc’ program on steroids.
You can also draw your calculations and Mathematics will try to decipher your drawing into an equation. This is helpful if you receive an problem but don’t know exactly how to enter it into the program. It works fairly well, but does have some difficulty decoding some more complicated equations.
Of course the core of a graphic calculating program is the graphs it can make. Entering the equations into the “equation” portion of the program allows you to graph multiple lines on the same chart.
Once you get used to the program, you can actually get very fancy with your graphs. Entering the right commands in the software will translate to a graph on the worksheet:
Another interesting portion of the program is the equation solver. Once you type in an equation it will help you step through to solve it for one of the variables you have listed. After it is solved, you can then graph it in 2d or 3d to help visualize the equation and learn what it actually does.
If you are interested in learning how you can apply Microsoft Mathematics to help your child or student learn mathematics, Microsoft offers this free guide to give you learning ideas.
The Equation Library built into the program also gets you started on some interesting ways you can enter data into the program.
The final feature I’d like to go over is the Triangle Solver. The solver takes all of the legwork out of figuring out the remaining angles or length of a triangle and will also let you know exactly what type of triangle it is.
On a personal note, when I was going through high school I relied heavily on a graphing calculator to do all of my work for me. Although I was very good at translating problems into a format the calculator can read, I ignored the underlying concepts which lead me to receive good grades, at least for the mean time. Once I went to college and was no longer able to use a calculator I had a very tough time adjusting. Please make sure to use this program responsibly and actually learn the underlying principles.
Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 can be downloaded here and is free. It is only available for Windows, however if you have VirtualBox you will be able to run it on any other OS.
Have you used Microsoft Mathematics before? Do you know of some alternative software you can use in place of it? Let us know in the comments below!