The activities are designed to facilitate learning the mathematics using technology as an aid. There are activities covering General Mathematics, Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics as described in the Australian Curriculum for Senior Secondary Mathematics . These activities are written to use the capabilities of the Casio ClassPad II.
There is a range of activities and activity types. Some may only require 20 minutes while others will extend over a number of lessons. Some are primarily concerned with how to perform a particular technique within a ClassPad app, some use the ClassPad output as the starting point and in others, the ClassPad is only a small part of the activity.
The activities are arranged by topics matching the Australian Curriculum. Within each topic the activities reflect a possible sequence of learning related to that topic. Many activities can be used as a precursor to formal teaching of the concept thus encouraging a sense-making approach, discovery learning approach from students.
An activity consists of an aim, the activity itself, Learning notes and fully worked solutions. The learning notes are intended to help with the understanding of concepts, provide more detail or help with instructions for ClassPad use, provide additional explanations or point to interesting further explorations. As the course progresses more assumptions are made about the skills you have developed and so the instructions become briefer. Where more detailed instructions are required on ClassPad use, it will often be in the Learning notes rather than in the text of the activity.
The Computer Algebra System (CAS) is very powerful and can enable students to access more sophisticated ideas without necessarily being skilled manipulators of algebraic expressions. When we are doing algebraic manipulation with pen and paper, we often decide what to do next by considering the current line of working. Using CAS, however, requires the articulation of steps in words with these words often the commands given for the CAS engine to perform the next step. Solve, simplify, factor and expand are examples of these words.
What CAS enables is a greater focus on what we want to do rather than how do we do it. For example, in a modelling situation we may come across awkward functions that we may not have the tools to deal with by traditional methods. Often, however, CAS will provide an answer enabling us to check if the result makes sense in the original context. That is, solve problems, demonstrate understanding and work mathematically.