Thinking about a workflow for symbolic math:

The following workflow/tutorial is designed to integrate and replace or supplement:

While tools to do this have been available since the early seventies, their usage has remained less common than might be expected given their potential to both enhance and transform the learning process in mathematics and the sciences. At least three causes can be identified for this observation:

This workflow/tutorial is designed to remedy these three problems. The tool chosen - Maxima - is available for free, as is all its supporting software. Only a small, easily learnable subset of Maxima's commands is introduced. The tutorial is designed to cover approximately 80% (or better) of the needs commonly encountered by students and teachers in K-12 and the first year of college instruction. The features presented follow a logical progression - a learner can read up to where their needs/interests dictate, and skip or postpone later sections. Finally, the knowledge acquired can serve as the basis for more advanced/specialized usage.

Each of the following sections is designed so that it can also be printed out as a "quick reference" to Maxima.

Maxima installation Maxima as a calculator Maxima as a tool for symbolic math Maxima as a typesetter

We welcome your feedback on this workflow/tutorial - please email us at