At Grasple, we are always thinking on how to balance two things: provide you with powerful functionalities to create great didactical exercises, while keeping the flow and user interface as simple as possible. 

In this tutorial you will learn how to create increasingly interactive and adaptive exercises. You can follow along step by step, while we point you to the relevant articles. 

I. Create a simple math exercise 

In this first step, you will create a simple math exercise.
For example: f(x) = 5x^3 + 6. What is d/dx f(x) ?

  1. Go to your repository
  2. Create an Equation exercise (read: which answer types can I use?)
  3. Separate the context and the actual question  
  4. Write the functions using Math notation (through the menu or LaTeX) 
  5. Calculate the correct answer, put them in the answer box
  6. Add feedback

That's it. You have just created your first exercise in Grasple! 

II. Create a parametrized exercise and link it to your course

A simple exercise is nice, but a powerful feature of an online practice platform for math, is that you can parametrize the exercise (different numbers everytime)

  1. Use the exercise you created in I. Now add parametrization.  
  2. Link the exercise to a new Subject
  3. Add the Subject to your course map
  4. Practice the exercise from the subject and notice it will provide you with different numbers every time

III. Add specific feedback

When learners practice, they often make similar mistakes. This can be due to a typing error or due to a misconception. It would be great if we could provide specific feedback on those specific errors. (read more on how to do this)  

  1. Use the same exercise
  2. Click on additional answers and specific feedback 
  3. Add feedback for people who forget to apply the power rule correctly and forget to multiply the expression with the original power. 
  4. Preview the lesson and make the mistake. Do you get specific feedback?

IV. Use operators

Instead of having to manually calculate all the answers, you can use the Computer Algebra System (CAS) to calculate answers for you. In Grasple, these functions are called Operators. (read here which operators are currently available)

  1. Create a new exercise with parametrization 
  2. context: [funcF] = ([coef] x^ [power1] + [constant] )*ln(x) ,
    question: d/dx f(x) = ?
    Where the [coef] etc are parameters
  3. Instead of manually calculating the answer, now use a (derivative) operator (at the bottom of the article) to calculate [answer] , being the derivative of f(x). 
  4. Put the answer parameter in the answer box 
  5. Preview the question and see if it works! 

V. Add Subquestions

You can add multiple subquestions to a question by clicking the "+ Add Subquestion" at the bottom of the screen (scroll down to find it).

If you think of an additional question later on you can easily add the sub-question and move it to the correct place using the 'move up' and 'move down' buttons:

Note: you will be able to move all but the first question.

VI. Subquestions and decisions trees to create a help sequence

Now what if a learner doesn't know what to do in the exercise above?
You could provide the solution, but that would spoil the practice opportunity.
What you can do is create a helper sequence with "counter questions". With that we mean more simple questions that you would "counter" if a learner would ask "how do I solve this?" They will help the learner go through the steps and that way solve the exercise (with some help).

To get more detail on how to use decision trees to achieve this, check out this article:


  1. Create a new exercise.
    context: f(x) = (5x^3+6)^4 (use parameters)
    question: d/dx f(x) = ? 
  2. Add some subquestions (in the correct order) that you would ask if a learner would not be able to answer this questions correctly.  

If you would be helping the learner, what questions would you ask to help the student to get to the answer, without providing the answer?

  • Which rule can you best use to find the derivative? (open question or multiple choice : power rule, chain rule, sum rule etc)
  • What is the chain rule? (multiple choice, f( g(x) ) = f'(g(x))*g'(x) )  
  • Calculate d/dx of x^4 (use operator!)
  • Calculate d/dx of 5x^3 + 6 
  • The original question again

Now add logic. In this case we want to show the next question whether or not the question is correct or incorrect. Only with the first question we want to stop when the first question is correct. 

Did this answer your question?