## Exploring Graph Puzzles with Maple Learn

by: Maple Learn

When I was in middle school, I was really into puzzles.  At one point I attempted the Three Utilities Problem.  This famous problem is deceptively simple: three houses and three “utilities” (heating, water, and electricity) are represented by dots on a flat piece of paper.  The goal is to connect each house to the three utilities without crossing any lines.

Figure 1: A starting setup.

I spent hours drawing lines.  I eventually looked it up online, and the internet told me that the problem was impossible.  I didn’t believe it, and tried for several more hours until I was forced to accept its impossibility.  I still remember this intense stint of puzzling to this day.

Figure 2: Cue twelve-year-old me saying “I’ll get it eventually…”

Looking back, I wonder if this sparked my interest in graph theory.  I know now that the Three Utilities Problem is truly unsolvable.  I know that the graph’s formal name is K3,3 and I know a full graph theory proof explaining its nonplanarity.  Nevertheless, I still love this puzzle, and I’ve recently recreated it in Maple Learn.

To do this, I created a table of x and y values and plotted all of them using the Point() command.  This allows the points to be fully click-and-drag-able.  Line segments joining two points automatically move with the points as well.  We then have a fully interactive graph directly in the Maple Learn plot window.  I can move the “houses” and “utilities” around all I want to try and solve the unsolvable.  I can also create other graphs to further explore planarity, paths, matchings, or any other aspects of the wide world of graph theory.

If you want to check out the document for yourself, it can be found here

## What Are Your Favourite Maple Learn Tricks?

by: Maple Learn

I’m looking for users’ favourite tips and tricks in Maple Learn. Specifically, small pieces of advice that most people don’t know about, but that helped you create better Maple Learn documents. For instance,

• A favorite feature that you think is hard to discover;
• Common techniques you use when creating documents;
• Things about Maple Learn you wish you knew when you started.

These tricks could be for newbies or for experienced users.

To start off the discussion, let me share three of my own favorite tricks in Maple Learn.

1. Using Documents from the Document Gallery

Writing a Maple Learn document from scratch can seem overwhelming, especially for beginners. A much easier way to create documents is to start with a template from the Document Gallery.

There are hundreds of Maple Learn documents in the Document Gallery, available here. Instead of writing Maple Learn documents from scratch, I like to search the gallery for documents relating to my topic. I then select a document, and just modify it slightly to get what I want.

2. Toggling from Math Mode to Text Mode

If you want to write text in a group element, it’s best to toggle to text mode (otherwise Maple Learn will treat your text as math).

While this can be done using the toolbar, there is a nifty keyboard shortcut to toggle to text mode: place your cursor at the beginning of the group element, and press the space key.

3. Using Double Arrows in Plots to Show Distance

Here’s one for the advanced users. The Vector Command lets you draw arrows on a Maple Learn plot. Combine two such arrows of the same colour going in opposite directions, and you get a double arrow (see below), which I like to use to represent distances in my Maple Learn documents.

Indeed, here is an example document where I use double arrows to provide a visualization of the product rule in calculus (plot pictured below). Notice how the double arrows (created using the vector command) represent distances in the plot.

Comment your favourite tips and tricks down below!

## Online Tutoring with Maple Learn

by: Maple Learn

Since the start of the pandemic, I have been involved in online mathematics tutoring. I tried many different applications to best communicate with my students, and ended up sticking with Maple Learn. Here’s my setup, and why I chose Maple Learn.

My Setup

When I have an online tutoring session, I join a scheduled video call to “see” my students. I then open a blank Maple Learn document, and share my screen. I explain whatever I need to explain, while writing key information on the Maple Learn document. When I don’t want Learn to interpret what I write, I go into text mode; when I do (e.g. when I want to graph a function), I stay in math mode. When the class is over, I send the document’s sharelink to my students by email, so that they can access it.

Here is an example of a Maple Learn document (pictured below) that I created while teaching trigonometry to a student. Keep in mind that I typed this while on call with the student, so the document is very simple - it only uses the most basic features of Maple Learn.

Why I Chose Maple Learn

My main student wants me to teach him trigonometry ahead of it being taught to him at school. For this, I need to be able to write lots of text and math easily, while on video call with him.

Microsoft Word is not good enough for this: the equation editor is too clumsy. I also tried drawing tools where you can move your mouse to draw on the screen, but they make it too hard to write text. I even tried pointing a camera at my desk and writing the notes by hand, but my handwriting is terrible, and I could never find the right position for the camera. That’s the main reason why I chose Maple Learn: it lets me write both text and math quickly and simply, unlike many other applications.

There are some other benefits to using Maple Learn. I like that I can organize what I write in a visually appealing manner on the canvas, by moving groups around. I like that I can graph functions within Maple Learn, without having to open a graphing calculator in a separate tab. Finally, I find the sharelink feature convenient for sending the notes to my students after class.

Disclaimer: I discovered Maple Learn while working at Maplesoft during a co-op term.

## Teaching Calculus with Maple Learn

by: Maple Learn

Are you teaching a calculus course? Then use Maple Learn, Maplesoft’s free online product, to do so.

Below are some examples of calculus documents you can create in Maple Learn.

1. Documents Explaining Concepts with Interactive Visuals

2. Interactive Quizzes

3. Documents Using Maple to Perform Complex Operations

Maplesoft’s learn content team has already created about 200 Maple Learn calculus documents! The full list is here. You can modify these documents easily, and use them to teach your calculus class as well.

## Happy Holidays from Maplesoft

by: Maple Learn

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, at Maplesoft, I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented and creative minds around. My colleagues are constantly pushing the boundaries of what we can build and what our products can do.

So to close out 2021, I wanted to share a video that one of our brilliant developers, Marek, sent the company. Marek emails a greeting every year wishing his Maplesoft colleagues a Happy Holiday.  Well, this year, he stepped it up a notch and created this superb video explaining "How to decorate for Christmas using Math", where he created a wreath using Maple Learn.

Watching the video brought a smile to my face, and I know it did the same for others.

I hope this video warms your heart as it did mine. On behalf of all of us at Maplesoft, Happy Holidays!

## Introducing Maple Learn Art

by: Maple Learn

Recently, the Maple Learn team hosted an internal Maple Learn day. The team encouraged Maplesoft employees to create Maple Learn content. A lot of art was created.

Below is a link to an example of Maple Learn art, and a picture relating to it. The document is interactive, so open it to see what it does.

Christmas Art, by Marek Krzeminski - Senior Architect at Maplesoft

If you too like to combine math and art, use Maple Learn here to create artwork yourself, and share it with us in the comments.

## Exploring Continuity with Maple Learn

by: Maple Learn

Recently I decided to compare continuity, related notions, and differentiability. Can a function be differentiable, but not continuous? What about uniformly continuous, but not differentiable? I used Maplesoft's new online product, Maple Learn (free to use at learn.maplesoft.com), to explore.

Here is a Maple Learn document I created. It is an organizational diagram, as shown below. Each rectangle in the diagram corresponds to a different property that a function may satisfy. Within each rectangle, examples are provided of functions satisfying the appropriate properties.

If you click on an example, it will be selected, and the corresponding function will be plotted in Maple Learn's context panel. Try it!

I've also created companion documents to explain certain concepts in greater detail. For instance, below is a snapshot of a document explaining uniform continuity, which you can access here.

By using sliders in the document, you can move and resize the rectangle drawn in the graph. You should notice when doing this that the green function never touches the horizontal sides of the rectangle. This turns out to be the "reason" why the function is uniformly continuous.

You can find a companion document on Lipschitz continuity here.

I’ve learnt a lot about continuity in creating the documents shown. I hope that you too have learnt something from them!

## Maple Learn and Desmos and GeoGebra, Oh My!

by: Maple Learn

The most frequent question I get asked when presenting Maple Learn is: “How is Maple Learn different from Desmos?”  The second most frequent question is: “How is Maple Learn different from GeoGebra?”. And they are great questions! Why invest time in learning and introducing students to something new if it works and behaves exactly like something you already use? I certainly wouldn’t bother, and I can’t imagine that anyone else would either. So, in this post, I will do my best to articulate the differences as succinctly as possible, and we’ll be happy to arrange a demo for anyone who is interested in learning more.  Are you ready for another top 3 list!?

Disclaimer: Before we dive in, I’d like to start by saying that Desmos and GeoGebra are great tools. This post is not intended to disparage them. Rather my goal is to highlight the things that make Maple Learn unique.

1. Maple Learn is the equivalent to doing math on paper, just better!

Maple Learn is akin to a digital math notebook. The canvas gives students the same feeling as solving a math problem on paper – the ability to work through a problem line by line, with explanations, notes, and additional calculations wherever they want them on the page – only with extras. Students can also use Maple Learn to perform tedious intermediate steps, see a graph to get a better sense of the problem, vary parameters to explore the effect on graphs and results, do a quick side calculation to double-check an individual step, and verify the final result.

2. Maple Learn takes a more holistic approach to learning

Where other tools focus predominately on visualization and getting the final answer, the Maple Learn environment supports much more of the teaching and learning experience.  Students can articulate their thought processes and mathematical reasoning using a combination of text, math, plots and images that can be placed anywhere on the canvas. Teachers can devise lessons in Maple Learn that focus not just on solving problems, but on developing skills in mathematical thinking, communication, and all the competencies and standards outlined in the curriculum. For example, instead of having your students work through the minutia of solving for x from two equations, you can create a document that focuses on having them set up the problem correctly, and then let them use the content panel to get the solution. Or you can use interactive supports, such as Algebra Tiles, to allow them to explain the concept of Completing the Square. Or give them an equation, and ask them to jot down features of the equation. The questions you can pose and the discussion that arises as a result is what sets Maple Learn apart from the rest. Because ultimately, the study of mathematics and science is about understanding, not the final answer.

3. Maple Learn is about math not commands

Maple Learn is an environment for learning math and math-based subjects, not about learning commands. So how do you perform an operation in Maple Learn? Easy! Maple Learn’s intelligent context-sensitive panel offers students a list of relevant operations to choose from, based on the mathematical equation or expression in question. This feature was first introduced in Maple over two decades ago, and it’s one of the most beloved features of students, teachers, and new Maple users, so of course we included it in Maple Learn. The context panel means that you and your students can focus on learning math not commands.

And here’s a bonus for making it all the way through:

4. You can pull math into Maple Learn really easily using the Maple Calculator

Let’s face it, for now at least, there will always be students who will feel more comfortable doing math on paper. It’s like tomato soup and grilled cheese – some things are meant to go together. So to make the transition from paper to digital easier, students can take a picture of their problem, or even their completed handwritten solution and bring them into Maple Learn instantly. That way, they can have the comfort of paper, AND the advantages of the digital environment. (I’d say something about having their cake and eating it too, but all this talk of food is making me hungry!)

## Hello, Algebra Tiles! Where were you when I was...

by: Maple Learn

One of the things I love most about my job is working and collaborating with math teachers across the globe. Every discussion leads to additional insights into the challenges facing teachers today, and new ideas on how to make Maple and Maple Learn better. And sometimes, I even learn some math I thought I already knew!

A few months ago, I introduced Maple Learn to a friend of mine who teaches high school math in Kingston, Ontario. I showed her how she could use Maple Learn to teach many concepts during our call, including Completing the Square. I walked her through Maple Learn’s free-form canvas and explained how her students could work through a problem line-by-line just as they would in their notebooks. I highlighted the live plot window and showed how her students could graphically verify that their solution was equivalent to the initial expression. And, I demonstrated the power of Maple Learn’s intelligent context panel and how her students could check their answers algebraically. I thought I had done a good job, until she said: “Karishma, that’s not how we teach Completing the Square anymore!”. Huh! I was floored. What I had shown was the way I had learned the concept so many years ago. I was surprised to learn that there was a new way.

My friend then introduced me to Algebra Tiles and how she used it to teach Completing the Square. Once we went through a few examples, I realized that I had never fully appreciated what I was doing when I completed the square. I had memorized a series of steps without really understanding what I was trying to do. The progression of our discussion naturally led to the inevitable question: “Karishma, does Maple Learn include Algebra tiles? Because that would be a game-changer for my students. Currently, we use physical tiles, but with remote learning, we need something digital.” At that time, my answer was ‘not yet’; however, with the introduction of image support last week, I’m happy to announce that Maple Learn can support algebra tiles and other interactive supports.

Here is the Maple Learn document I created on Completing the Square using Algebra Tiles.

Feel free to change the expressions listed in the document and share it with your students. To see algebra tiles in action inside Maple Learn, take a look at the short video that I created.  If you have any suggestions for improving this application, please feel free to let me know.

## Maple Learn - Now with Images!

by: Maple Learn

Yes, that’s right! You can now add images to your Maple Learn documents! Whether you’re adding a diagram to help visualize a physics concept, inserting the logo or your school or organization, or just adding a cute selfie so that everyone knows how great you looked while making this document, you can add any image you’d like using the image icon on the toolbar. You’ll need to be logged in to access this new feature, but luckily making an account is completely free!

To insert the image, just click the image icon and select the image you want from your computer or tablet. To resize it, highlight the image and click the image icon again. You can also turn the image into a hyperlink by highlight the image and clicking the link button! Now, not only will your document look snazzy, but it can take you anywhere you’d like.

Images aren’t the only exciting new feature in Maple Learn. If you were excited by all the circles in the last set of updates, then you’re going to love this one, because we’ve introduced the Circle command! Just plug in the centre of the circle and the radius, and bam, circle. What’s more, you can easily turn your circle into an arc by adding the angle measures of the two endpoints of the arc. Infinitely customizable round objects, right at your fingertips. To learn more, check out the How-To documents Using the Circle Command and Plotting Arcs.

Ancient Greek mathematicians thought that there was nothing that couldn’t be constructed with only a compass and a straightedge. A wise math professor once tasked my class with using these same tools to draw a pretty picture. With Maple Learn’s Circle function and ability to graph straight lines, you have all the tools you need to complete this same task! We look forward to seeing the results.

## New Application Center - Beta

by: MaplePrimes

As many of you are aware, the Maple Application Center is a very important resource for Maple users. It is a place for authors to share their Maple work, and for users to have access to a rich collection of over 2,500 curated Maple documents covering a wide array of topics and disciplines.

I am very pleased to announce that we have been hard at work on a new version of the Application Center, and it’s at a state where we’re ready to open it up to the public for testing. You can access the new site here: https://www.maplesoft.com/applications_beta . We are looking for feedback, so please give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Here are a few of my favorite features of the new site:

Updated Look & Feel
The interface of the current version of the Application Center has not changed in many years, and it was time for a new paint job. I think you’ll find that the new site is cleaner, modern, and more enjoyable to use.

Easier to Find the Documents you Want
The updated Application Center provides multiple new ways to find content that is relevant for you. Browse user-made collections of documents or use tags (the same tags used in MaplePrimes) to find documents for the topics you are interested in. Alternatively, you can use the search bar to quickly find documents, tags or authors.

If you are logged-in when using the Application Center, you will be able to customize what you see by pinning your favorite collections, authors or tags to your home page.

Community Moderation & Reputation
As with MaplePrimes, the strength of the Application Center comes from the amazing community of individuals who contribute to it. In addition to submitting your own content to the Application Center, users can now edit tags and create collections of content that others can use. Similar to MaplePrimes, community moderation is restricted to members who have a sufficient reputation score. Speaking of reputation, quality contributions to MaplePrimes will now be reflected in your reputation score. When someone likes one of your submissions, your reputation will increase by 5.

There are many other great new features as well, and we have a roadmap of future updates planned that will make it even better.

I invite you to take a look at the new site and play with it. Browse some content, search, look through tags, and create some collections. Most importantly, I’m really hopeful that you will then use the comments section below to let us know what you think. Did you discover any bugs or issues? What do you like? What do you dislike? What other features would you like to see?

We are hoping to run the Beta for a period of a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to hearing and reading your thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!

https://www.maplesoft.com/applications_beta

Bryon

## Concerning Chromebooks and Calculations

by: Maple Learn

Do you have a Chromebook?  Are you a student or a teacher looking for the mighty power of Maple, but find yourself limited by your web-only computer? Well, have no fear, because Maple Learn is here!

As a web-based application, Maple Learn is fully supported by Chromebooks. You can create graphs, perform and check calculations, and share documents all within the comfort of your own browser. No need to download any kind of software—just go to learn.maplesoft.com to get started!

Students, if you’re looking for some use for your school-provided Chromebook and wondering how it can help you learn instead of just weighing down your backpack, Maple Learn can help. It’s the perfect, all-inclusive tool to help you learn, visualize, and check your math. And, if you’re looking to brush up on all that math you forgot over the summer, you can check out the Maple Learn Example Gallery, home to hundreds of examples and explanations of a wide variety of math concepts. And it’s all accessible on your Chromebook!

## Check out Engineering Matters Podcast #127 - Tools...

by: Maple , Maple Flow

Here's a podcast that covers a few topics that get discussed on MaplePrimes.

We all like finding the right tool for the job. In the Sep 2021 episode of the Engineering Matters Podcast “#127 – Tools for Thinking” you can discover how far engineers have come in their quest for better tools.

It features contributions from several members of the Maplesoft team as they discuss how the user experience shapes the adoption of engineering software tools.

The hosts have fun describing some early calculation hacks - from early Sumerian farmers using their fingers as tally counters, to the paper calculus notebooks of the 1850s used by historical engineering figures like Isambard Kingdom Brunel. What starts as a necessity gets improved over time to save them mental effort – all driven by the way users interact with the tool.

This episode gives a behind-the-scenes look at some of the decisions that shaped the engineering product that is now Maple Flow from its roots in Maple. Maplesoft CEO Laurent Bernardin describes the spark of innovation in the late 1970s, when two professors at the University of Waterloo developed Maple. “The two professors got together, realising that there was a need in math education for a tool to help with calculations and setting out to create that tool. And Maple was born quickly, was adopted across universities around the globe.”

As engineers typically work in ways far removed from the regular academic setting, Product Manager Samir Khan weighs in on the shift that comes from a different user base: “Different tools have different design intents,” says Khan. “Some tools are designed for programmers such as code development environments, like Visual Studio. Some environments are aimed at mathematicians, people who need precise control over the mathematical structure of their equations, and some environments are designed for engineers who simply want to throw down a few equations on a virtual whiteboard and manipulate them and get results.”

The conversation also touches on the design of the GUI itself. Margaret Hinchcliffe, Maple’s Senior GUI Developer expresses the importance of smoothing the user experience - drilling down and taking “the typical tasks that people want to do the most, and make those the most immediate. So really focusing on how many keystrokes do they need to do this task?”.

Ironically the idea of the paper notebook still has features that are desirable. Khan muses on the idea that Maplesoft has “taken the first step with having a virtual whiteboard, but Maple Flow still relies on keyboard and mouse input”. He offers suggestions for what may be next in the industry: “It’d be interesting to see if we can take advantage of modern advances in deep learning and AI to imitate what humans are doing and interpreting handwritten mathematics.”

You can listen to the entire podcast (~30 min) here: https://engineeringmatters.reby.media/2021/09/30/the-evolution-of-tools-for-thinking/

## Updates to Maple Learn: The Continuing Saga

by: Maple Learn

Calling all fans of customizable documents! What am I saying, we’re all fans of customizable documents here. Well, we’re all in luck, then, because with our latest updates to Maple Learn you can tailor even more details of your documents to your exact specifications. Read on to see what’s new!

As we all know, graphs are not merely a method of communicating mathematical concepts, but are of course an art form that can be used to display both mathematical and aesthetic beauty. But sometimes, you may find a little something getting in the way of that beauty… those darn gridlines. Even the most elegant of graphs can be tarnished by this faint, criss-crossing lines. But have no fear! With our latest updates, you can fix this problem with the click of a button. Simply select “Plot Settings” from the graph controls to the right of the plot window, and set Axes to “None”. Finally, your graph is pristine. What’s more, that’s not the only new feature we’ve added to the Plot Settings menu. You can also set the axes to “Boxed”, allowing you to see the gridline labels no matter how from the origin you are on the graph. You can also manually set the boundaries of your axes! No more scrolling and zooming to get the perspective just right.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also added another exciting feature that will help make your graphs look exactly as you want them. By clicking the small graph icon to the left of your expression, you can customize the colour of your plot! You can choose from a wide variety of pre-set colours, or you can use our colour selector to get the exact shade you want. Any custom colours will be temporarily added to the bottom of the colour palette, so you can be sure that your graphs are consistent. At last, you can rest assured that your Maple Learn graphs won’t clash with your outfit.

What’s more, if you’re a fan of graph customizability, then this is the set of updates for you. We’ve added two more features that will help make your graphs both pretty and easy to understand. Tired of trying to draw shapes, only to have each side be a different colour? Well, no more! We’ve adjusted the Segment command to accept as many coordinates as you’d like, allowing you to create polygons (or just funky zigzags) to your heart’s content! As well, we’ve introduced a new command: the Label command. Now you can add text right onto the plot window and label your graph as you see fit. Or maybe you could use the Maple Learn plot window to start drafting a best-selling novel. The possibilities are endless!

We also wanted to take a moment to highlight our Example Gallery. We’ve made some changes to make it easier to find the examples you’re looking for. And with over 400 documents and counting, we’re sure to have what you want! But, on the off-chance we don’t, let us know! We’d love to hear about what you’d like to see. And as always, that goes for both the Example Gallery and for any features you’d like in Maple Learn itself! We appreciate your feedback.

## Orientation Week for Math Software

by: Maple , Maple Learn

Welcome to Maplesoft Orientation Week!  We know what a difference math software can make when it comes to enhancing student learning, but we also know that everyone is very busy at the beginning of the school year! So our goal for this week is to make it easier for high school and university students to select the best math tool for their needs, and help them get on track for a great math year.  The week’s activities include free training on Maple and Maple Learn, discounts on Student Maple, live events with some of your favorite math TikTok personalities, and even the chance to win an iPad Air!  Check out all the activities now, and plan your week or tell your students.

Orientation week runs Mon. Sept. 20 – Fri. Sept. 24.

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