Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

FooPlot

Plot points, make graphs with basic but functional tool
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • Graphs are made instantly by selecting the type and entering the equation.
  • Graphs of polar equations are quick and easy to make.
  • Kids can change parameters and intervals on a graph of a parametric equation.
  • Graphs can be exported in various forms.
Pros
Kids can make a variety of graphs without an expensive graphing calculator.
Cons
It needs way more support in terms of tutorials and sample lesson plans.
Bottom Line
It's free, it's simple, and it does the job; you can plot functions, polar equations, parametrics, and points.
Emily Pohlonski
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

FooPlot isn’t flashy or fun –- it’s just a tool that makes graphs. If you have the need to make a graph, it'll be reasonably engaging, but overall it's missing relevance to really draw kids in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Graphing is done quickly so that kids can focus on the concepts. Kids get to see immediate results when they change a parameter, which is helpful for getting a real understanding of the math involved.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

It's accessible in five different languages -- very cool. But it lacks help tutorials and extensions that would help students use the tool to their best advantage.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

You'll love that all of the saved plots are considered public domain; they can be used to create worksheets, presentations, or assessments without copyright concerns. You can also use FooPlot to provide inquiry opportunities for kids. Prior to learning about how a particular function looks and responds, give kids a chance to manipulate it using the Fooplot tools. Kids'll be able to figure out for themselves how changing a function changes the graph. Give them prompts like, “What happens to the shape of the graph when you plot an even exponent as compared to an odd exponent?”

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What's It Like?

FooPlot is a free online tool that lets kids plot functions, polar equations, parametric equations, and points. It's pretty simple to use; you can layer different graphs on top of each other, and a tool bar lets you find intersection points and roots. Other tools let students trace points on a graph, move it, and zoom in or out. Once a plot is created, it can be exported as a PDF or other various file formats for later review. FooPlot could be used in high school math classes ranging from algebra to pre-calculus.  

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Is It Good For Learning?

One of the best things about FooPlot: It allows kids to quickly see multiple representations of the same mathematical idea. They immediately see that if they change the equation, the plot changes too. There certainly aren't any bells and whistles, but it's a serviceable tool that can be used in lieu of a graphing calculator. Most of the tools are easy to use, with the exception of the Zoom Box button, which doesn’t respond consistently.

As with any tool, there are limitations. FooPlot only finds the roots or intersections for some functions; it won't find them for polar plot types. Since FooPlot uses Newton’s method, it won't be able to find roots for certain functions, like those that exhibit fractal behavior or those you can’t differentiate.

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See how teachers are using FooPlot

Lesson Plans