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Information on Formulator Tarsia

License: Free
Requirements: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8
Latest version: 3.9 (available for download)

With this software you will easily be able to create, print out, save and exchange customised jigsaws, domino activities and a variety of rectangular card sort activities. The activities created using this software can be presented in printable form, ready to cut out.

Formulator Tarsia known earlier as Formulator Jigsaw is an editor designed for Teachers of Mathematics creating the activities in a form of jigsaws or dominos etc for later use in a class. It includes the powerful equation editor for building the math-expressions for the activities. An advanced feature of text placement along the side of the shape makes this tool irreplaceable software for fast activity creation. Formulator Tarsia became a powerful tool for learning activities since it supports the activity templates. It enables easy support of teachers and gives them new perspectives to development of their teaching activity.

Formulator Tarsia installation package contains samples kindly offered by:
MathNet Bryan Dye, having his resource MathsNet at http://www.mathsnet.net
Mr. Barton maths.com Craig Barton having his resource at http://www.mrbartonmaths.com/jigsaw.htm
 
Hermitech Laboratory highly appreciates these contributions.
 
Creating learning activities with Formulator Tarsia
 
Formulator Tarsia contains the following interface elements:
  (1) System menu;
  (2) 'Formulator Expression' toolbar (appears only on the 'Input' view of activities);
  (3) 'Standard' toolbar;
  (4) Bottom navigation bar;
  (5) Right hand navigation bar (appears in the input view and in other views when there are several options);
  (6) Document area;
  (7) Status bar.
Formulator Tarsia
 
Bottom navigation bar

This navigation bar is located under the 'Document area' and allows you to switch between different views of an activity. The bar changes according to the type of activity selected. For instance, hexagonal jigsaws and dominoes have 4 types of views: 'Input', 'Table', 'Output'. Solution. The rest of activities have the only 'Input' and 'Output' views.
 
Formulator Tarsia
 
Right hand navigation bar
 
This navigation bar is located to the right of 'Document area' and allows you to quickly jump to any of your expressions in order to edit them. The number of the expression you are currently working on is darkened. There are two types of navigation arrows: single arrows to move the bar one place forward or back, double arrows to move the bar by ten increments forward of back.
Formulator Tarsia
 
 
Document area
 
The document area is used for both entering the expressions in the editing slots and for viewing. Editing slots are used when building mathematical expressions for activities cards (for the 'Input' view). The viewing area is used for the other reasons (e.g. browsing, print preview etc.) ('Table', 'Output', 'Solution' views). When typing the mathematical expression the document area contains a slot or series of slots for expressions. To build mathematical expressions, please use the toolbar, and insert the chosen expression slot in the cursor position, type the text, numbers or operators. For 'Formulator Expression toolbar' the keyboard shortcuts are also available.

Inputting the Expressions

The software provides an easy-to-use mathematical expressions editing tool to create expressions that appear on the cards for activities. This tool is based on Formulator ActiveX Control that allows you to create mathematical expressions through simple point-and-click techniques. It has an intuitive and visually oriented interface similar to the most text editors for Windows. Formulator Tarsia provides a large number of templates giving the possibility of constructing a wide range of mathematical expressions.

In order to input the expressions:

1. Select Input page using the 'Input' button of the bottom navigation bar.

Formulator Tarsia
 
2. Type the expressions using the keyboard and selecting the mathematical constructs from the toolbars.

When working with expressions you can use variety of Tarsia features: management of the expressions' styles and sizes, zoom in to or zoom out of the expressions, nested view, export expressions in MathML format or into image. You can use standard elements of user interface like menus , toolbars , and shortcuts.

Checking using the table of expressions

When you create a hexagonal jigsaw or domino activity it is useful to check the expressions by viewing the pairs of equivalent expressions in a table. The 'Table' page makes it possible to browse and print the expressions presented in matching pairs in table format.

To open the 'Table' view page select the button 'Table' at the bottom navigation bar.

Formulator Tarsia
 
Viewing the Output

Formulator Tarsia allows you to preview an activity as it will appear when printed ready for cutting out. 'Output' view allows you to display the current activity, and to use ‘Zoom’ to change the size of the view. For hexagonal jigsaws, the level of magnification of the print out is controlled by the right-hand navigation bar using the ‘Normal size’, ‘Large size(8x3)’ and ‘Large size(24x1). The ‘Large size’ buttons allow you to produce a large puzzle which might be helpful to learners with visual impairments. The 'Simplified version' of the hexagonal activity output gives only the central six triangles of the jigsaw. Teachers and trainers can offer the simplified version of a jigsaw to learners who are finding the topic difficult and might benefit from a more limited choice of options. However, once learners have created the jigsaw, the teacher or trainer could then release the remaining triangles to complete the 24-triangle jigsaw.

The right hand navigation bar appears only in jigsaw activities, the other types of activity have only the Normal size set by default. The Normal output can always be enlarged if required on a photocopier.

To switch to output preview select the button 'Output' in the navigation bar at the bottom of the window.
 
Formulator Tarsia
 
Viewing the Solution

This view appears only in jigsaw and domino activities. These are not intended for use by learners but, while creating the activity you can see the solution of the activity presented on the 'Solution' view. This view makes it possible for you to display, browse and print out the current activity solution. The level of magnification of the view is controlled by the right hand navigation bar with buttons: 'Full version', shows the 24 piece jigsaw activity solution. 'Simplified version' displays the central six triangles only. To switch to solution preview select the button 'Solution' in the navigation bar at the bottom of the window.
 
Formulator Tarsia
 
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