To Be Presented in the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
December 12-16, 2006, Hong Kong SAR, China

Conic Section and Eccentricity: How The Geometer・s Sketchpad (GSP) Enhance Students・ Understanding

Krongthong Khairiree
International College
Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University


This paper aims to describe how The Geometer・s Sketchpad (GSP) enhance students・ understanding on the topic of a conic section and eccentricity. A conic section is the locus of a point having a distance from a fixed point that is in constant ratio to its distance from a fixed line. The fixed point is called the focus, and the fixed line is called the directrix. The constant ratio is called the eccentricity of the conic, and its value gives the kind of conic section. A circle has eccentricity 0, an ellipse between 0 and 1, a parabola is 1 and hyperbolae have eccentricity greater than 1.

GSP is one of the dynamic mathematics software that provides opportunities for teachers and students to use their ability to access, drag, visualize, and create graphical representation of conics section and the eccentricity. GSP enable students to construct graphical and numerical representation together. These enhance students・ understanding in interpreting eccentricity and conics section both visually and numerically.

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