Education Technology

Why Buy a Graphing Calculator?

Posted 03/30/2023 by TI Staff

As the most recommended graphing calculator brand by teachers, Texas Instruments (TI) has a long history of helping students succeed in math and science. When considering a graphing calculator, there are many reasons why TI amounts to a smart, long-term investment in a student’s academic future.

What value comes with a TI graphing calculator?

  • Dynamic exploration of math and science. Students are empowered to see structures, discover and identify patterns, and make their own connections.
  • Trusted for the big exams. TI graphing calculators are allowed on most high-stakes exams and advanced coursework, including the ACT®, SAT® and AP® exams.
  • Built to be distraction free. No Wi-Fi access means more security than other devices and helps young minds focus their attention on learning, not online.
  • Complementary software. Students get the flexibility to practice and learn in ways that increase accessibility and support different types of learners.
  • Added coding capabilities. Students can be introduced to the basics of programming, including Python and TI-Basic, for STEM and computer science learning.

Simply put, the value of a TI graphing calculator is in the fact it’s a worthwhile, one-time purchase for parents and their child. It’s a tool used for learning math, science and coding that’s durable enough to follow students from middle school to high school, and all the way through college.

Math, science and coding — all with one calculator
Graphing calculators are commonly included in the instruction of math and science classes. And because Texas Instruments is a favorite brand for many teachers, it’s possible a student will need either a TI-84 Plus CE or TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator in their day-to-day school work.

What sets TI graphing calculators apart from other calculators and calculator apps is that they’re not a simple shortcut to quick, easy answers. Rather, our calculators are made to truly help students learn, visualize and understand math better. All the features of our products are designed with input from real math educators to help make sure they don’t do “too much” for students and will still enhance their learning.

It doesn’t start and end with math, either. TI graphing calculators can be used in a wide range of courses, such as general science, engineering, computer science, business, finance and more.

Appropriate for a variety of courses and subjects


  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra I and II
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Precalculus
  • Calculus/AP® Calculus
  • Statistics/AP® Statistics
  • Differential Equations
  • College-Level Courses

Science, Engineering and Finance

  • Chemistry/AP® Chemistry
  • Physics/AP® Physics
  • Biology/AP® Biology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Life Science
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Science
  • Business & Finance
The go-to calculators for high-stakes and AP® exams
TI graphing calculators are approved for many of the most important exams students take, including the PSAT®, SAT®, ACT® and IB® Diploma Programme exams. You can see which TI graphing calculators are approved for specific exams on our website.

To get ready for important exams and beyond, TI offers a variety of free online resources for students to learn more about the features and functionality of their calculators.

  • Test-prep resources — Find libraries full of practice questions and exam aids, including tips and tricks that help students save test time and avoid mistakes.
  • Tutorials — The answers here cover common questions across various subjects, such as how to graph functions and equations, shortcuts, steps for transferring programs and more.
  • YouTube videos — Choose a topic and explore playlists full of lessons and activities dedicated to helping students with math and science subjects.

We believe students do their best on exams when they’re in a comfortable setting and are familiar with their calculators. In fact, according to the College Board®’s calculator policy, it’s recommended they practice with the same calculator they will use on the actual test, rather than a new calculator they’ve never seen before. The best way to do that is using it in class and for homework.

No internet access, no distractions, no hassles
TI graphing calculators are purposefully built to be distraction-free devices. They do not come with built-in Wi-Fi capability, Bluetooth or a camera, so parents can be assured their child will stay more focused on their studies — not their social media feeds.

No Wi-Fi means there’s never a need for an internet connection for the calculator to work. It’s also a valuable benefit not just for the parents of easily distracted students, but also the millions of children who do not have access to reliable internet at home. According to the June 2021 household pulse surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 9 million households with children in public or private schools do not have internet access.

Software that adds even more flexibility
TI offers complementary software for the TI-Nspire™ CX II and TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculators that makes it possible for students to practice and learn on both the physical handheld calculator and computer-based versions.

Students will have access to their calculators no matter where they are, in class or at home. This software not only increases accessibility, but helps offer stronger support for different types of learners.

Texas Instruments graphing calculator software increases accessibility for students and supports different types of learners.
TI software increases accessibility for students to learn from anywhere.

The power of Python with TI graphing technology
In addition to learning math and science, it’s important for students to learn the fundamentals of programming as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.” In fact, many districts are currently or planning on integrating programming courses as part of the school curriculum.

With TI Codes, students can learn the basics of coding with the same calculator they take to their math and science classes. It offers free online resources that provide quick, 10-minute tutorials to get students up to speed. They’re able to learn TI-Basic and/or Python programming concepts like variables, conditional statements, loops, sequences and more.

Start exploring TI Codes now

Students are able to learn the basics of coding with fun activities using same Texas Instruments graphing calculators they use for math and science.
TI Codes provides a variety of fun activities with step-by-step instructions to teach students coding.

The value of similarity is familiarity
Have you wondered why the design and general layout of TI graphing calculators have stayed the same over the years? It’s on purpose! Both teachers and students frequently provide feedback saying the familiarity with the layout and navigation of our calculators is key. The last thing any teacher or student needs is another new device or layout they have to learn all over again.

Even so, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts! The features and functionality of TI graphing calculators have evolved by leaps and bounds. They’re compatible with a wide range of technologies, from microcontrollers and data collection sensors to robotic vehicles such as the TI-Innovator™ Rover. It’s why they’re often used in computer science classes and STEM clubs, too. These calculators can also spark student interest in subjects like programming, software development and engineering design, making these types of careers more approachable and more accessible.

The trusted brand for graphing calculators
Texas Instruments is an established company offering reliability and worldwide support for customers, which is one reason it’s the most recommended brand of graphing calculators by teachers. Our products and business are built to last.

Math tools come and go, but TI remains steady and supportive. New startups can look attractive, but if they are acquired or receive new investors, product deals, business models and support levels are subject to change. With Texas Instruments, districts, teachers, students and parents alike can count on a solid investment in a student’s academic future.

When educators and administrators make the decision to adopt TI technology, we take that trust seriously. We recognize an investment in a TI graphing calculator is a big decision, and we offer essential services and support for educators to help with adoption and implementation, including professional learning for teachers, curriculum and lesson planning materials, attentive customer care through TI-Cares™ customer support, and more.

Texas Instruments graphing calculators are valuable learning tools for students and the teacher-approved devices for teaching math, science and coding.
A student learning how to code using a TI graphing calculator with the Rover.

The full value of TI’s graphing calculators is extensive. As the time-tested, teacher-approved device for everything from math and science to programming, parents and schools are investing in children’s long-term academic success — starting from the early years in middle school all the way through college-level courses. For the exams that need to be taken, the lessons that will happen in the classroom, and the homework assignments that need to be turned in, students will value the help of a TI graphing calculator.

You may also be interested in answers to the top 10 questions parents ask about graphing calculators.

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