CL Newsletter, February 2020 - Do More With Less!

Computation Layer is beautiful in its simplicity, and in many cases, just two or three lines can do things that at first glance appear to use two or three dozen lines. This month we want to keep things simple and useful for everyone, regardless of experience level. In lieu of a longer message from the CL team, we’ve decided to share with you some of our favorite improvements that are quick and easy to add, but provide a dramatic improvement to any activity.

Single Sink Upgrades

Here are our top 5 favorite sinks that can be used quickly and independently. Whether you have zero lines of CL or 100, using one or more of these on a screen adds, pizazz, encourages deeper thought and reflection, and most of all, is fast and easy to apply.

suffix / cellSuffix

It’s handy to know what the quantity you enter represents, especially in cases where it’s easy to get lost in the math. Suffixes can help you add clarity and subtract confusion when students enter their responses. You can also use them to add a more personalized feel to your activities. Pro tip: use conditions to differentiate between singular and plural amounts!

disableEvaluation / cellDisableEvaluation

Fun fact: every math input in Activity Builder is a fully functioning calculator! That functionality is really helpful for problems that you would encourage calculator use on, but sometimes you want students to think about the result of their input before giving them the numeric value. Use disableEvaluation in a math input or cellDisableEvaluation in a table to hide the value of any numeric expression.

Content Interpolation

Want to carry forward an estimation students made on a previous screen? It's actually much easier than you might think. In the script of a note, create a content sink and wrap whatever predetermined text you want in quotations. Then, call forward the string you want by wrapping it in a dollar sign and two squiggly braces.

initialLatex / Text / CellContent

Give your students sentence starters or help them organize their thoughts with some prefilled content. In a math input, start them off with a “y=”. Ask students to notice and wonder by pre-formatting the text input with an “I notice . . .” and an “I wonder . . .” separated with a few line breaks. You can even use initialLatex to create a whole new problem type not possible without this CL sink. See what we mean here.


Are you tired of those pesky intersection points popping up on a graph display? Do you get frustrated when students trace a line to find the function values instead of performing the calculation? Turn trace off, and a graph display becomes just that . . . a display. No tracing, no clicking. You’ll still have the same functionality with movable points, etc., but without the side effect of students being able to reveal coordinates that you want to keep hidden.

Try It Yourself