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My son has cerebral palsy and is taking high school algebra 2/trig.

I am looking for the best way for him to efficiently complete homework problems which include both equations and drawings that his teacher requires to accompany the problems to show his work. He has a school mac that dual boots mac and windows.

I am trying to offer a solution with my newly acquired Ubuntu laptop. Is there a software solution - for example - with libreoffice, that has a math editor?

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3 Answers 3

Here is an article that I think will help you with what you are wanting to do :)

http://www.libreoffice.org/features/math/

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The easiest and very powerful thing is Wolfram Alpha web app. Just write in the edit box:

2*x^2-3*x-1

and hit enter. It will show You the general way of how it works. My students use it and all of them are very satisfied.

Apart from wolfram Alpha I would reccomend Scilab - for general computations, and Maxima for algebra and symbolic operations.

If You wish to use Libre office Scott Stookey's answer will do.

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Does he prefer to work with a mouse or would something that is more text-centric be OK for him?

If he would prefer to work with a mouse, I would suggest that you get Math Type for his Windows or Mac systems. That even lets him input mathematical formulas using the mouse directly (see web page).

If he would rather enter text and have it render as mathematical formulas, lyx might be suitable for him. It is an editor for LaTeX that has really nice features for entering formulas. It is available for Ubuntu.

I would personally go with the second option, but I am biased due to working a lot with LaTeX.

As for drawing, I would recommend inkscape -- it's a drawing program that you obviously operate mostly with the mouse, but everything (line lengths, positions, colors, etc.) can be edited with the keyboard as well. It also has really good support for aligning objects in the drawings, so mouse precision is not needed either. This may be particularly good for him if keyboard-centric applications would suit him better (related to your comment).

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he works with a mouse but the fine motor skill are a little jerky so discrete entries might easier/quicker –  arc Feb 15 '12 at 18:28
    
In that case, I would definitely recommend that the two of you take a look at lyx -- they have a screencast demo that shows what it is like to edit mathematical formulas in it. –  Lakritsbollar Feb 15 '12 at 21:11
    
@arc my answer has been updated with a note about drawing figures in inkscape. –  Lakritsbollar Feb 15 '12 at 21:16

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