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Introducing Mathwright Microworlds - Microworld: Transformations of a Function

James E. White

  Transformations of a Function, written by Mike Pepe of Seattle Central Community College, is a microworld with eight story pages embedded in a single web page. It has a menu from which you can navigate to most pages, or you can move from story page to story page by clicking buttons. In this book, each page allows you to experiment with a certain type of transformation of a function. If you change data in any of the text fields, the changes persist as long as you are in the book.

While you experiment in the book, use the menu buttons on the story pages to navigate. When you finish with your exploration, close the window to return here. You will see a pop-up message telling you that Mathwright is stopping. Click OK to proceed. Whenever you leave a microworld page, you will see this message. It means that the microworld session is closed.

You may enter the microworld now by clicking the hyperlink or the image above.

You may move back and forth among the story pages of the microworld, and, whenever you return to a story page previously visited -- even after you have closed and reopened your browser -- you will not have to wait for objects to be downloaded again. Once cached, objects are immediately available on future visits. In fact, during a single session, any structure you might have created -- a graph, a table of data, mathematical text, a matrix, etc. -- will be there waiting for you when you return to a story page. This persistence of data is often useful, as our next two microworld examples will show.

Microworlds can be designed to encourage students to experiment with an idea from different perspectives. They usually allow students to approach a topic from their own levels of understanding and to ask their own questions. This style of storytelling can be both integrative and constructivist, and it can support visualization in a way that stand-alone demonstrations seldom do.

James E. White, "Introducing Mathwright Microworlds - Microworld: Transformations of a Function," Convergence (December 2004)