Calculus III covers material from calc I/II, but in 3D. One part of calc III is to graph in 3D. A program called Maple is used to draw the graph, then students draw this on their exam. For 6 years, a lecture approach was used to cover this topic. Overall, students did not do well on this part of the exam (approximately C-D average). Students had no comprehension as to why the graph looked the way it did and were not able to draw basic shapes. Also, students were not able to explain if the graph made sense; did the technology provide a correct graph.
F15, I asked myself "Why do students need to know how to do this? What is it they need to get out of this activity?" They need to know why technology is providing the answer it does and if the answer makes sense. More time was spent having students analyze the equation and explain WHY the graph in Maple looks the way it does. They also had to explain if the graph was correct or not. Students practiced analyzing in class and average on this exam problem went up to a B. David Weaver assisted me with this change.