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Graphing Calculator Use
Posted:
Mar 12, 2001 8:48 PM


I use the TI86 in my precalc and calc classes. I guess you'd call my opinions and use of the graphing calculator moderate, overall. I use it as a tool to do messy number crunching  like annuities and Newton's Method. I use it to assist in teaching graphing and to graph things we, otherwise, could not graph. I test the kids WITHOUT the calculator unless the question requires it  like Newton's Method... Then I just test in two parts  part 1 with and part 2 without. I'm not at all sold on the TI89 for class use yet... and the majority of my department are definitely NOT in favor of graphing calculator use at all. Anyway...
Next fall, I'm teaching an intermediate algebra class for the first time in a few years. I'll be reprepping the course anyway and want to try some new things  like, possibly, have the students have a TI86 and use it as I do in my other classes. Here are my reservations:
1) Since they are not sciencetype majors, is it unfair to make them spend the money? (Keeping in mind that I will be having them spend less than 20 bucks on their text  I'll save this idea for another email.)
2) Many will only have to take one more math class and, in my department, the probability is that they won't be allowed to use it in that class.
3) My colleagues will frown on the idea  calculator use is tolerated at the higher levels, but not below 100 level courses.
4) Used too heavily, I don't think they are good at this level either. (Just my opinion  But, I won't be using it too heavily.)
The up side: 1) Computations will be SOOOOOO much easier! I want to teach them about annuities and do lots of applications.
2) They can check their graphing answers on the calculator. (They won't have any answers in the back of the book to check  again, this is for another email.)
3) Our bookstore has a buyback program for TI's (I think, anyway.)
4) I've grown accustomed to teaching with one.
5) Hey, they can play games on them!!! 8)
So, I've got a couple of questions for you all:
1) Do you use a graphing calculator a) at this level? b) only at higher levels? c) always?
2) Do you use the TI89 yet?
3) Should I do it or not? (I've got to get it into the schedule soon.)
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