# THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DYNAMIC MATHEMATICAL SOFTWARE IN THE INSTRUCTION OF THE UNIT CIRCLE

12-2019

Thesis

## Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching, Mathematics

Mathematics

## Abstract

This study is attempting to test the effectiveness of dynamic computer models such as GeoGebra and Desmos on high school students’ ability to understand key concepts with regards to the introduction of unit circle and the graphing of the sine and cosine functions.

Algebra two high school students of varying ages were chosen and randomly placed into two groups. Both groups were given the same pre-assessment and an identical lesson. The two groups’ only difference occurred with the individual student practice portion of the lesson where one group did ‘traditional’ paper and pencil practice for graphing and solving while the other group used only computer models as their individual practice. Both groups were then reassessed by giving the same assessment again. Their levels of improvement were compared using standard statistical analysis and a mean comparison test. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in the student group that used the dynamic models versus the group that did not use the computer. The sample size was large enough to generate a confidence value of over 99% (99.3%) so we were able to reject the null hypothesis that there was no difference between the group results and accept the hypothesis that

the student group that used the computer models improved by a statistically significant amount. The non computer group improved by 7.7 percent while the computer aided group improved by over 49 percent. This represented an 88 percent increase in the scores of the computer group when compared with the control group. I was able to definitively conclude that the dynamic software did have a significant and positive effect on the students' learning of the unit circle.

It is hoped that this information will be used to help inform more effective instruction for high school and college students as they learn this topic. It also provides a strong argument for an increased emphasis on educating teachers to become more fluent in the use of dynamic models and software as both a demonstration tool and as an interactive tool for their students in a variety of math levels. These results may also have wider applications to many other math topics and math instruction in general.

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