16 January 2015

Algebra on a Chromebook: Google Search Math Tricks

Need a calculator?
Need a graphing calculator?
Need a unit converter?
Need to calculate a volume?
Need to calculate an area?
Need to find the measurement of the side of a shape, given one of its volume or area?

Your students (and you) can use Google Search to perform all of those tasks without ever leaving the browser window. Does it take the place of having a standard, standalone, scientific calculator? Of course not.

However, knowing these Google search math tricks help me to work more efficiently when I'm in the flow of a project. Having a browser window open is ubiquitous to the modern computer experience, so as often as possible, it makes a lot of sense to me to utilize what I've already got open and available. If I can perform the task without going to a specific online calculator or grabbing my physical calculator, it just makes sense.

So what all can I do?
1. Perform calculations the same way you might on a handheld calculator.
You can even do square roots or logs if you know the proper notation.

2. Graph equations of functions. 
Include a comma between equations to do more than one. Trace for specific values by hovering your mouse cursor over the function.

3. Calculate the volume or surface area of a 3D solid. 
Just type in volume formula of _________. Cone is shown here, but also works with cylinders, prisms, spheres, and pyramids.

4. Calculate the area of a 2D shape. 
If you only search, "area of _______," it will return the formula and give you a text field to enter your dimensions, but you can also specify a dimension in the search. In the example below, I specified a radius of 4 by including "r=___"

5. Convert units 
This is super important for project-based learning, "real-world" problems, or gathering information for 3-act math stories.

The drop-down menu that is currently on "digital storage" below also has options for temperature, length, mass, speed, volume, area, fuel consumption, and time units.

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Thanks for sharing!