How I Use It
Geogebra can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. In addition to graphing functions, calculating values, and constructing geometrical figures, Geogebra can be programmed to simulate a variety of dynamic situations. I've programmed this product to accompany a lesson on exponential growth and logarithmic functions.
In particular, I've designed an interactive lesson where students can observe two quantities’ values varying on number lines separately and together. Students can select different check-boxes to view the simulation in different settings. Geogebra is programmed to display horizontal and vertical number lines which I claim represent the possible values of the two quantities: the number of weeks since I bought a cactus and the cactus’ height in inches. The program can display a point that travels smoothly and continuously on the horizontal line (whose values represent the number of weeks since I bought the cactus). Similarly, I've programmed Geogebra to display an image of a cactus that grows at an exponential rate on the vertical number line (whose values represent the height of the cactus in inches). Geogebra can assist students, who struggle to form an image of this situation on their own, in visualizing two covarying quantities.
Personally, I prefer to use this resource to guide and supplement class discussions. I find that productive conversations can be had when students are given a chance to notice relationships that stay consistent from one example to the next and when they have some control over what is displayed.
I absolutely love Geogebra! I love that it is a free resource and that via their website, files can be opened and shared.
I would say that the only downside to using this program is that it takes some time to learn the ins and outs of the programming (both for the teacher and the student). However, there are a lot of resources online - so whenever I have an issue, I just search for how to make what I want appear (or I ask a knowledgeable friend). I would suggest that if you want your students to use this program, that you have a lesson on how to perform basic operations in Geogebra so that students can focus on the mathematics first and foremost.
Being able to program really useful simulations and diagrams requires that one really know the mathematics behind the problem. This can be a great way to lesson plan. If you find yourself struggling to construct what you want, you can anticipate students will likely struggle with the same mathematical issue.