What is True Love? Winplot.

I am in love. Absolutely in love…

with Winplot (download it here – don’t be deceived by the ugly page). I discovered it on my hunt for a great program to make visuals for my Multivariable Calculus class. But now I’ve started using it when preparing lessons and graphs for all my classes.

The bad news: it has a pretty high learning curve. Some things are intuitive, many things aren’t. You have to, for example, type: y=root(3,x) to graph the cube root of x. But once you get the hang of it, it’s easy, breezy, beautiful.

The good news: what can’t it do?

I decided that either this weekend or next I’m going to spend 60 minutes going through
this comprehensive guide and learn all the features of this program in one go. Since the start of the year, I’ve been learning it piecemeal. I need to graph an inequality, I figure it out by looking around on the program. I need to get gridlines on my graph, I putz around until I figure it out. And in fact I thought I had a pretty good grasp on things without ever reading any documentation. However, it turns out that this program is way, way, way more powerful than I thought — because I only found out today that I can create pictures of volumes of revolution with the short click of a button! And so much more, apparently, after looking at the guide. So in my excited state, I felt compelled to write this post.
I know you’re dying for some screenshots, so I’m going to post screenshots cribbed from the guide linked to above here:

winplot1

winplot2

winplot3

A few more pictures after the jump…

winplot4

winplot5

winplot-6

winplot7

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2 comments

  1. Thanks! I was looking for something other than (the expensive) Mathematica or Matlab to show volumes of revolution to the class. Sometimes my art skills are enough, but often there are some kids still scratching their heads as to what a square-cross-sectional object looks like.

    The graphing program on Macs can do slope fields, but it’s rather tedious to do and even more so to do them by hand. So, this will be great for that, too.

  2. Winplot is great! It’s amazing that it’s free. I also like “Grapher”, which comes with OSX. I don’t have to worry about calculus, but it’s wonderful for teaching 3D graphing in precalc.

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