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Sequences, Series and Mathematica

John H. Mathews
Organization: California State University Fullerton
Department: Mathematics
URL: http://mathfaculty.fullerton.edu/mathews/
Journal / Anthology

(to appear in School Science and Mathematics)
Year: 1992
Volume: 92
Issue: 6
Page range: 318-324

The topics of sequences and series have always been an important part of every calculus course. New ideas on these topics are welcomed by both students and teachers alike. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how computer algebra software (CAS) san be used to enhance the teaching of these topics. The Mathematics Department at CSUF shares a satellite computer laboratory in the school of Natural Science and Mathematics where there are 24 student workstations equipped with Macintosh II computers. The computer algebra system Mathematica has the capabilities of doing (A) exact solutions, (B) approximate solutions and (C) graphically generated approximate solutions. Its built in commands permit students to easily form the terms in a sequence or series and then obtain numerical and graphical output. Although Mathematica has been used in this article, the software Maple also has the capabilities to find limits and make the two-dimensional plots. However, Maple does not have commands which correspond to Table and ListPlot, so that some programming is necessary to obtain the same results. Other graphics software such as TrueBasic and MathCad (or even the HP-28 calculator) can be programmed to sketch the figures shown in the article.

*Mathematics > Calculus and Analysis > Calculus
*Mathematics > Calculus and Analysis > Series