Teaching the Bigger Picture: Exploring Mathematics with Mathematica

Debra Woods, Mathematics Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

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The Mathematica Edge
  • Automatically and instantly creates interactive visualizations
  • Provides environment to easily develop dynamic lesson plans and tests, with text, calculations and graphics all in one notebook
  • Accesses thousands of examples and tutorials found in the Wolfram Mathematica Documentation Center
"Mathematica is a self-contained environment where you can do all the things you need to do. The students author. They can write. They can calculate. They can draw graphics. They can do it all in one environment."


"It's all about teaching the concepts." That's Debra Woods' philosophy, and she says Mathematica is key in helping her achieve this goal. She teaches Mathematica-based courses at the University of Illinois and through its online math program, NetMath.

Woods says Mathematica's visualization capabilities make all the difference in the way her students explore and grasp lessons. "What we can do in Mathematica we simply can't do with calculators or textbooks," says Woods. "In Mathematica, you can not only visualize things, but you can also manipulate them to see how they would change. And you can have those graphics, along with calculations and text, all in one environment."

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