In a computer lab helping students create graphs for a math project or math test?
Working with a committee of teachers preparing a report for your administration? Or just sitting at home putting together slides for a new lesson? In all of these cases — and many more — you can find yourself needing easy-to-make graphs and charts. The days of having to own expensive software packages to accomplish this are long gone. The web offers tons of options, most of them free, for creating, editing, and downloading what you need. Let’s look at five of the best options:
- Desmos is one of the very best out there. Desmos offers an amazing online calculator which is integrated with tons of teacher-based and student-centered activities and explorations. To see one among hundreds of examples that have been created by users, click here to see a force/vector simulation.
- GraphFree is another, much simpler, option for creating graphs relating to the math curriculum. Any graphs that students can create on their TI-84s can be done here, using an interface that is somewhat similar to what they are probably already used to. But there are many other options: With the click of a pull-down menu they can create implicit, piecewise, parametric, and polar graphs — as well as slope fields and number lines. Click here to watch some of their demo videos.
- At the other end of the complexity spectrum, the National Center for Education Statistics offers Create A Graph, as part of its Kids’ Zone. Offering a very simple interface, this is a site which allows you to create bar, line, area, pie, and basic XY-plane graphs, and to download them conveniently.
- Another more scaled-down math graphing calculator can be found at FooPlot. Offering quick and easy access to the main settings (graph background, labeling, window, etc.), FooPlot allows you to rapidly graph several functions at a time and to download or project the results.
- The University of Rhode Island offers a nice Flash-based 3D graphics tool here. It is very easy to use, and displays a very clear, rotatable picture of the function entered. It lacks an embedded download option, but by using a screengrabber you can easily get an image that is suitable for adding to a webpage or other digital display, such as Power Point.
About the Author
A former math teacher in Georgia, Larry Coty is now USATestprep’s Math Content Team Leader. He has two daughters and resides in Tucker, GA.