We are proud to announce Wolfram Problem Generator, a website where students decide which topic they want to practice and we provide the questions and solutions. This is an exciting new way to help students with their classes: previously, students provided their own practice questions and Wolfram|Alpha helped them find answers with Step-by-step solutions. Students can now ask Wolfram|Alpha for help with practice and homework questions and can do practice problems with Wolfram Problem Generator.
Currently, there are six main topics that Wolfram Problem Generator covers: arithmetic, number theory, algebra, calculus, linear algebra, and statistics. The topics range from early elementary school all the way through college calculus. Moreover, for elementary and secondary education material, we are closely following the Common Core Standards initiative to provide a comprehensive list of topics.
To use Wolfram Problem Generator, students first start by choosing a topic of study. Say that first grader Sally just learned about basic subtraction and wants more practice problems. Sally’s parents can sign up for a free seven-day Wolfram|Alpha Pro trial account and navigate to the integer arithmetic section of Wolfram Problem Generator.
In each section, there are three different difficulty levels: beginner, to familiarize students with new material; intermediate, to help students get a firmer grasp on the material; and advanced, to challenge students who can already solve average problems. As Sally has just learned about subtraction, she would start with the beginner-level problems.
When given a problem, students are generally presented with an empty input field. Students then type the answer into this field, in their own words. For example, for the problem “What is 23 minus 4?” they could type “19″ or “nineteen.” (They could not, however, type “23 – 4″ and receive credit!) This input field harnesses the power of Wolfram|Alpha’s natural language parser to ensure that all students can learn and express themselves in their own unique way.
For each problem, students are given three opportunities to find the correct answer. After the first wrong attempt, a hint will appear under the question.
For example, Sally is having a difficult time with “23 – 4.” Fortunately, at the end of her three tries, the Step-by-step solutions for “23 – 4″ pop up to tell Sally exactly how to do the problem. Now she has a better understanding of how to tackle the next problem.
There are also printable quizzes for each problem category and difficulty level, consisting of multiple choice questions. Wolfram Problem Generator makes the multiple choice questions challenging by ensuring that the incorrect choices are generated to include the most common errors for each problem type.
It’s the night before Sally’s big subtraction quiz, and her parents want her to focus on practicing multiple choice questions. Sally or her parents can print out a PDF version of a Wolfram Problem Generator quiz. Then they have an option: print out questions from Sally’s problem history, or print a brand new set of problems.
Now let’s move onto Sally’s older brother Jake, a senior in high school who just started his Calculus AP class. Jake is studying for his first big exam on derivatives and is having a hard time with the chain rule. However, whenever he tries to use websites with math quizzes, he gets the incorrect answer because of the way he typed in the answer.
Wolfram Problem Generator, however, shows Jake an input interpretation, which tells him exactly how it parsed his answers. So now instead of spending time trying to guess the correct format for the answer, Jake can focus on actually solving the problems and understanding the material.
In addition, the difficulty levels (which not only vary in difficulty of functions, but also in the wording of the problems) will help Jake better prepare for different types of questions.
Wolfram Problem Generator also keeps track of all of Jake’s previous questions. This allows Jake to go back and review exactly which problems he got wrong. Then, he can generate a printable worksheet from his history so he can go over the questions once more. Thus, when the day of his exam comes, he will no longer be making the same mistakes.
Wolfram Problem Generator is unique. Instead of pulling problems from a reservoir, it randomly generates each problem. This way, students can be sure to get a variety of practice problems. In addition, Wolfram Problem Generator uses Wolfram|Alpha’s understanding of natural language to help parse the user’s input. That, along with the input interpretation, ensures that students no longer have to try to guess whether the error is due to the syntax of the input or a legitimate mathematical error. When the error is in their understanding, students can learn from Step-by-step solutions, going one step or hint at a time to see them through the problem.
The ultimate goal of Wolfram Problem Generator is to allow students like Sally and Jake to practice as they need for their classes through one easy and comprehensive website. Instead of driving Sally to and from her tutor after class (only to drive back to pick up the solutions manual she forgot), Sally’s parents can use Wolfram Problem Generator with Step-by-step solutions. And when Jake needs a last-minute study session, he simply needs to log in to his Wolfram|Alpha Pro account to get the extra practice he needs to ease his mind before the big test.