Getting Started with GeoGebra – Tutorials, Examples and More

At Twitter Math Camp 2012, I gave a session about getting started with GeoGebra. Here are the resources from my session, including eight tutorials and links to pages with lots of other tutorials

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Why Should you use GeoGebra?
  2. How do you use GeoGebra in your classroom?
  3. Why use GeoGebra instead of Geometer’s Sketchpad or another math visualization program?
  4. Where do I get GeoGebra?
  5. How can I learn how to use the program? <– TUTORIALS!
  6. How can I find ridiculously cool applets that are way above my skill level?

______________________________________

Why should you use GeoGebra?

The idea of learning a new technology and incorporating it into your teaching can sometimes very overwhelming. And you should never just use technology for technology’s sake, as some administrators seem to espouse. You have to have a real reason to use it. GeoGebra can improve math instruction in a million ways. The dynamic nature of the program gives you the ability to explain and explore concepts that simple pen and paper (or marker and whiteboard) can’t! I find myself using the program at least weekly, sometimes more.

______________________________________

How do you use GeoGebra in your classroom?

AS A DYNAMIC DEMONSTRATOR: To help students understand a tricky concept during direct instruction.
How can you get students to understand that the perpendicular bisectors of a triangle ALWAYS meet at one point? Construct a triangle with perpendicular bisectors in GeoGebra and move the vertices of the triangle around and let them observe that those lines always meet up at a point. (PS, sorry I didn’t upload these – this post took forever as it is and there are lots of examples of applets in the tutorials section below)

DYNAMIC WORKSHEET: To give students a chance to explore a concept at their own pace in small groups or individually.
One activity I do every year is let students “discover” derivative rules using a derivative tracer. They enter a function into a GeoGebra applet, which then traces out its derivative. With that, students try to guess what the equation of the derivative is. Once they collect a bunch of examples or correct derivative equations, they look for patterns to come up with a rule.

STUDENT EXPLORATIONS: To give students a powerful tool with which to complete their own investigations.
I have had students convert pictures to integrals, fit functions to data of really crazy things that they wanted to study, and calculate the volume of real world solids of revolution. Getting them comfortable with program with more guided activities earlier in the year gives them the skills to be able to do amazing things with it on their own later in the year.

CREATING WORKSHEETS/ASSESSMENTS: A tool for you to make your worksheets and assessments very professional looking.
You can copy and paste anything from GeoGebra into a Word Document, giving you the ability to put very good looking graphs and diagrams in your teaching materials.

______________________________________

Why use GeoGebra instead of Geometer’s Sketchpad or another math visualization program?

Well, first, it’s free. I mean, that should really be enough, but I’ll keep going. Because it’s free, you can install it on as many computers as you need (so students can use the program at home and at school). And you don’t actually need to install it – you can run GeoGebra right from a web browser, or host web applets that just require a student to have a browser with Java installed (i.e. 99% of people who own a computer and keep it even remotely up to date). Basically, no matter how annoying the tech department at your school is, GeoGebra is pretty easy to get going.

Additionally, because the program is free, it is developing quickly, and resources are easy to share and easy to come by. The community around GeoGebra is strong and constantly growing – check out GeoGebraTube, a ridiculously large repository of GeoGebra applets.

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Where do I get GeoGebra?

Download it here. Click on “Webstart” to download the installer. You can also start a web applet here (in “Applet Start”) and download an offline installer for students without internet access.

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How can I learn how to use the program?

Luckily, the program is incredibly intuitive. The best way to learn is to open up the program and experiment! But some people hate that and need a bit more of a push to get going (I had to teach my mom how to text with her new phone, so I think she is one of those people). That’s totally okay – my recommendation is to work through some tutorials that can show you how powerful you can be with the program. I wrote 8 tutorials that progress from GeoGebra basics to some cool intermediate to advanced things that will go a long way in creating your own applets.

GeoGebra Tutorials (written by me):

1. Basic Construction, Geometry Focus
(program basics, menus, windows, basic geometry tools)
(tutorial, finished product)

2. Basic Construction, Algebra Focus
(algebraic input, changing the display, copying into another program)
(tutorialfinished product)

3. How to Make Sliders to Animate a Concept
(dealing with variables, making your illustrations dynamic, animation)
(tutorialfinished product)

4. How to Make Tracers
(showing how things change and tracing the results)
(tutorialfinished product)

5. Inserting a Picture and Making a Checkbox to Show/Hide It
(putting a picture in and fixing it, checkboxes to show/hide objects)
(tutorialfinished product)

6. Using the Spreadsheet to Manipulate Data and Modeling
(inputting and visualizing data, fitting functions to sets of data)
(tutorialfinished product)

7. Uploading to GeoGebra Tube
(uploading your creations to the web to make sharable web applets)
(tutorialfinished product<– With GeoGebra 4.0, this is even easier! There is a menu item in File–>Export–>Dynamic Worksheet as Webpage (.html), and then you can directly upload to GeoGebra Tube.

8. GeoGebra and Google Forms
(using Google Forms to make a way to collect student responses)
(tutorialfinished product)

Other tutorials I have found:

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How can I find ridiculously cool applets that are way above my skill level?

If you aren’t all that interesting in making your own, you can still find tons and tons of great applets. Like this applet that helps derive the equation for the area of a circle…

Head to GeoGebra Tube, an official searchable database of GeoGebra applets for just about any topic imaginable. Feel free to be inspired by the amazing work that some people do with the program!!

__________________________________________________

Best of luck using this program to help make your math teaching more dynamic!

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Posted on August 9, 2012, in GeoGebra, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great stuff, especially the short (hallelujah!) pdf tutorials. Wish I’d had these last week when I did my presentation, I would totally have used them.

    Your spreadsheet tutorial in particular is great. I’ve been avoiding learning to use this feature because I was too intimidated by it, but a one-page tutorial? Immediately compelling. (I mean, how long can it take? How hard can it be? It’s just one page!)

    I’m looking forward to using a bunch of GeoGebra stuff in my geometry classes this semester. I’ll be watching your blog to see what kind of things you’re doing with it.

  2. Awesome post, great tutorials. Geogebra is outstanding, and getting better with each update. The learning curve is a bit steep still (for students anyways), so those tutorials sure are handy.

  3. I’m not seeing the “File->Export->Upload to GeoGebratube” menu option on mine, and I have version 4.0.33.0. Is this feature in a later version?

  4. woops! It’s file–> export –> dynamic worksheet as webpage (.html) and then the first thing that shows up is the upload to geogebratube thing. it makes it a lot easier!! let me know if you find other mistakes… i know there are at least 2 or 3 in there from the presentation (but i forgot to write them down haha)

  5. I am also turned on to GeoGebra! I’ve been currating dynamic worksheets for our 6th grade math curriculum at http://grade6ratiosandproportions.wikispaces.com/ and at http://grade6geometry.wikispaces.com/home I’m still learning how to create my own applets, but there is some great stuff out there!

  6. Thank you for this post, Bowman! I did not know how to get started in GeoGebra. Now I do.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’ve been using GSP for last 5 years and just upgraded class set to their version 5. But I’m also trying to familiarize myself with GeoGebra because not all kids have GSP at home. (My first geometry class had only 14 kids, 8th graders, so they all bought a copy of GSP for home use, then they passed these on to their siblings…) It’s more so I can help all the kids.

  8. I love the idea of this, but I wonder if I am using a different version? In your “spreasheet and fitting functions to data” tutorial, under step 3, it says “Set you window properly by right clicking on the graph and selecting “Drawing Pad”.” When I right click on the graph, I don’t see “Drawing Pad”, I see a menu with choices

    Graphics
    Axes
    Grid
    Zoom
    xAxis:yAxis
    Show All Objects
    Standard View Ctrl+M

    Graphics

    Not a “Drawing Pad” in sight. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    dave vinson
    Assoc Prof/Math
    Pellissippi State Community College

  9. Reblogged this on jensilvermath.com and commented:
    Fantastic Resource! Thank you.

  10. hi ,am mr mark a kenyan teacher of mathematics teaching high school .i have learn geogebra through a colleague but i have difficulty in using it. please i need slides and tutorial if any please, other wise i find it to be the best tool in teaching .good work

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