Top 10 Questions Parents Ask About Graphing Calculators1. What is a graphing calculator?
Graphing calculators from Texas Instruments (TI) are dedicated learning tools made to help students learn, understand and apply math and science concepts in the classroom, at home and on important exams. A graphing calculator is a valuable, long-term investment for both middle and high school students that is durable enough to last all the way through undergraduate and graduate school.
2. Why do teachers use graphing calculators in class and recommend them for home use?
Independent studies have reinforced what teachers know from experience: Using graphing calculators helps improve students’ math skills and their attitudes toward mathematics. Research has also shown increases in the level of academic achievement among students who own a personal graphing calculator for homework and uses outside of class.*
Teachers want tools that help students learn the subject matter, not distract them. TI graphing calculators are distraction-free devices designed to keep students focused on learning — purposefully built without Wi-Fi or cameras.
3. Do graphing calculators just tell students the answers?
No, TI graphing calculators require students to demonstrate and apply an understanding of concepts in order to use them effectively.
As students gain more familiarity with their graphing calculator, as well as an understanding of the subject matter, they develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to achieve greater academic success.
4. How will a graphing calculator help my child understand math and science better?
A graphing calculator helps students continuously build upon their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to perform better in math and science. When your child can see expressions, formulas and graphs come to life in their hands, they’re able to make connections that lead to a deeper understanding of important concepts.
5. In what classes can a graphing calculator be useful?
Graphing calculators are integrated into the instruction of many math and science courses, and can even introduce students to Python programming.
Students can use their TI graphing calculator in more than one class, including: pre-algebra, algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, chemistry, physics, biology, statistics, business and finance. Parents can check with teachers to learn more about their policy regarding graphing calculators.
6. Can my child use a graphing calculator on tests?
Yes, in many instances teachers allow students to use TI graphing calculators on class tests. In fact, graphing calculators are permitted, or even required, on many college entrance exams and state exams. Parents can ask teachers about their specific testing policy.
7. Can my child use a graphing calculator on the SAT® and ACT®?
Yes, TI graphing calculators are approved and trusted for the most important exams students take, including the PSAT®, SAT®, ACT®, IB® Diploma Programme and AP® exams that allow or require a graphing calculator. Find out what TI graphing calculators are approved for specific exams.
8. Do I need to buy a new graphing calculator every year?
No, TI graphing calculators are extremely durable and made to withstand everyday use in the classroom, as well as the treacherous conditions of a student backpack or locker.
Most TI graphing calculators include upgradeable features and there are a number of helpful programs and applications that can be downloaded to expand the functionality of the calculator. A student can use their calculator from middle school through high school and even into college.
9. Are graphing calculators a worthwhile investment?
Absolutely! TI graphing calculators are a dependable, one-time investment in student achievement from middle school through college and beyond. A quality graphing calculator can cost less than a cell phone or a pair of high-end athletic shoes, and can be used for learning programming and other valuable STEM skills.
10. Why should my child own a graphing calculator?
Owning a graphing calculator extends learning beyond the classroom and allows students to use their calculator at home or anywhere on-the-go to complete homework, study for exams and more. They're also ideal for introducing students to coding with no internet connection required.
As the most recommended graphing calculator brand by teachers, TI technology enables students to make stronger connections in math and science. Your child will have the advantage of a durable, long-lasting tool that is distraction-free, lightweight and portable enough to be used anywhere, anytime.
Find out where you can buy TI graphing calculators here.
SAT® and AP® are trademarks registered by the College Board. PSAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. ACT is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc. IB is a registered trademark owned by the International Baccalaureate Organization. None are affiliated with, nor endorse, TI products. Policies subject to change. Visit www.collegeboard.org and www.ibo.org.
*To review complete research articles and other detailed references about TI graphing calculators and educational technology, visit education.ti.com/research.