Education Technology

Calculus Mini Labs with the TI-89 and the TI-92 Plus

Published on 07/30/2005

Activity Overview

In this Computer Algebra System (CAS) activity, students' learn to store calculation steps in the text editor of the calculator as a script file. This file is later accessed, modified, and used to solve other similar problems.

Before the Activity

  • Install TI Connect™ using the TI connectivity cable
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 1 - 6 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Study a helix in parametric form and use the given script to compute its length over a closed interval
  • Save the script
  • Access the script, modify the script, and replace the coordinate functions and the limits of integration to find the length of a DNA helix


  • Prove the equality of mixed partial derivatives, store the steps, and use it to verify results of other functions


  • Study the script involving harmonic functions
  • Modify the script and apply the second derivatives test to find the local extrema of a real valued function of two or three variables


  • Examine Lagrange's multipliers, and solve a problem with a system of 4 non-linear equations


  • Study the script to explore Riemann Sums in introductory integral calculus
  • After the Activity

    Students' answer questions on the Activity sheet.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary