Electronic Proceedings of the Seventh Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

Orlando, Florida, November 17-20, 1994

Paper C029

Chaos in the Classroom

Joe Yanik

Division of Mathematics and Computer Science
Emporia State University
Emporia, KS 66801
Phone: (316) 343-5639
Fax: (316) 341-5073

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In this paper we will describe a series of activities that explore the concept of dynamical systems and chaos. The activities were used during a three week workshop for high school and middle school teachers in June of 1994. Through repeated experiments the participants explored the behavior of the sequence Xn where Xn+1=F(Xn) for various functions F and for various initial values. Some of them were done using TI-82 calculators while others used True Basic programs running on Macintosh computers. Because of the audience they were designed to be used in a precalculus environment.

These activities allow the students to see topics from precalculus in action and provide an excellent illustration of the interplay between graphical, numerical, and symbolic methods.

Keyword(s): dynamical systems, TI-82, software, precalculus, chaos and fractals