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Topic: Graphing Calculator Use
Replies: 1   Last Post: Mar 19, 2001 11:51 AM

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Posts: 485
Registered: 12/6/04
Graphing Calculator Use
Posted: Mar 12, 2001 8:48 PM
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I use the TI-86 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 TI-89 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 re-prepping the course anyway and want to try some new
things - like, possibly, have the students have a TI-86 and use it as I do in
my other classes. Here are my reservations:

1) Since they are not science-type 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 e-mail.)

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 e-mail.)

3) Our bookstore has a buy-back 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 TI-89 yet?

3) Should I do it or not? (I've got to get it into the schedule soon.)

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