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vffffDTOPIC: Introduction to the Graphing Calculator (TI-73 Explorer, TI-83/84 Family)
AUTHOR: Cynthia M. Preston
Math and Science Specialist
Collier County Public Schools
Naples, Florida
LENGTH: 30 minutes (can be lengthened or shortened to needs of class)
This activity is meant as an introduction to students or teachers who have never used a graphing calculator. I have used it as a precursor to an introductory Navigator lesson that I give on the same day in the same class time.
Before having students plug in to the hubs of the Navigator system, distribute the graphing calculators.
1) Instruct students to explore their calculators for 5 minutes. Each table of 4 students is responsible for contributing one calculator discovery to the class at the end of the 5 minutes. (It is helpful here to circulate and note things that students say so you can remember to address each discovery if it is not brought to the class attention by the students.)
2) After time has elapsed, have students contribute their discoveries.
3) Items to address (especially if not discovered by the students in step 1.)
2nd function capabilities (turning the calculator OFF is how I introduce this)
Alpha/text capabilities (have students figure out how to type their names and how to utilize the A-Lock on the TI-84)
Drop down menu features (have students hit the MATH key and scroll or cursor through the menus)
Troubleshoot (How do I get out of this screen?) using CLEAR and QUIT
Screen display of multiplication and division (Ask students to type 9x4=36. This gets them thinking about the lack of an equals sign and that ENTER replaces it. It also illustrates and generates discussion of the use of an asterisk instead of an x for multiplication. Repeat with a simple division problem to show the fraction bar and its equivalence to the division operation.)
The difference between subtraction and the negative key (This generates discussion between the use of adding the opposite and subtraction. Also, operation keys are gray and the negative key is white.)
4) If time allows, I like to use the Four-Fours Problem, which is Activity 1 in Discovering Mathematics with the TI-73: Activities for Grades 5 and 6, published by Texas Instruments. Each table records their answers on a single sheet of paper and the classroom teacher can extend this into the next days activities if time permits. Its a nice way to get the students using the calculators and order of operations analysis at the same time.
5) At this point, you are probably ready to have the students plug into the hubs and start to Navigate!
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