## Something to Play With!

## What’s New?

Well, for starters there is code. What that code does is solve single-variable polynomial equations. I know that my previous post described a program that enables a student to solve linear equations and now I’ve ended up with a computer program that solves polynomial equations. The reason for this is that I want this program to eventually be useful for people learning algebra at all different levels. Creating code written specifically for linear equations limits the scope of what that code base could eventually be capable of. Now, I have something that can solve many different types of equations and adding functionality to it is fairly straightforward. I feel I am off to a good start.

## What’s Next?

There are some things that need to be refined in this current version. On the list is a rounding issue that was discovered. If you enter “solve x*x=2” the program gives back “x=-1.42 or 1.42” instead of “x=-1.41 or 1.41”. I’d also like to improve the Settings and About interfaces, the color schemes, and make the program’s responses more helpful to the user.

After that, the functionality that enables the user to solve an equation will be added. This will result in an increase in known commands but no increase in the math symbols recognized. As a result, only linear equations will be solvable. Adding these commands will make the program more useful for learning algebra than doing algebra. There already exist plenty of far better tools for solving equations. The whole point of this is to *learn *how to solve equations by doing exactly that – not watching a computer do it. At that point, it will be ready for some testing with actual students who do not understand algebra. I am very excited for that part.

Even further down the road, I see the possibility for a more graphical-based interface than text-based. Therefore, a button could be clicked instead of having to type. Also, figuring out a way to visually represent equations would be useful too – either with a graph or geometrically. Making “tests” or “levels” for the user to try and solve will also be important. Before I get there, I’m sure other ideas will come up.

## Please Let Me Know What You Think

Speaking of ideas, if you have any comments, suggestions, critiques, or anything to say at all please do not hesitate to use the contact form. It is so important to hear what others are thinking.