Curve Fitting with Prizm Pictures

I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming NCTM conference in April, the theme of which is “Building a Bridge to Student Success”.  I am excited to be heading back to NCSM & NCTM this year after having a years hiatus from math conferences.  Can’t wait to meet up with old friends and colleagues, check out what’s happening in math and math technology, and be a part of a vendor booth again. Believe it or not, I actually like being in the Exhibit Hall – it’s very invigorating and I get to connect with math teachers from all over and find out where the “points of pain” are, to use the words of my friend Stephen Reinhart.

I’ve been involved in the Casio planning for NCTM, so bridges have been a big part of my thinking these last few weeks. With that in mind, I have been looking at the Casio Prizm calculator and the built-in picture resources, and found one that is reminiscent, if not actually, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Which led me to playing around with curve fitting and looking for applicable lessons.  There is a whole lesson sampler for the Prizm available free that provides several curve-fitting to picture lessons. You will find not only key strokes for creating the curves and using the pictures, but also questions and resources for the students.

What I love about curve fitting and using real-world pictures is that students are able to see how the math they are learning is actually used and apparent in the world around them. For example – no bridge is built without a lot of math! Prizm has an amazing number of pictures built in that would fit any level of student working with equations and curve fitting – i.e. linear to trigonometric. You can have them plot points and determine their own regression or have the calculator do it, or a combination of both. Lots of options. The point here is that the pictures and line fitting capabilities allow students to problem-solve in a real-world context.  Always a goal in any math class!

I encourage you to check out the Prizm Lesson Sampler yourself. If you don’t have a Casio Prizm of your own, you can test out the emulator free here (fx-CG Manager Plus).  I’ve included a short video showing the basics of accessing the pictures, plotting points, and fitting a regression line.

If you live in Virginia, you can actually attend a free dinner/Prizm workshop in the next two weeks and experience it for yourself. Should be a lot of fun.  Here are the Virginia workshop/dinner dates and links to register: