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Topic: Using TI-84 in Math A classroom

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Subject:   RE: Using TI-84 in Math A classroom
Author: sher45
Date: Aug 28 2004
On Aug 28 2004, Suzanne wrote:
> In the Math Forum's Teacher2Teacher service a teacher asked:

"Is it appropriate for math teachers to allow use of the TI 84+ Silver
> in a Math A classroom? This model has factory-loaded applications
> that display the formulas for area of geometric figures (rectangles,
> circles, triangles, trapezoids, and parallelograms) and the
> derivations of these. Of course, most students don't know these
> applications are there because they don't bother to read the manual
> that comes with the calculator. On the other hand, this calculator,
> like the TI 83+ Silver, has a much faster speed in graphing, which I
> feel is an asset to students."

I would not be concerned about this calculator.  Perhaps it is "overkill" for
the course, but the student will not have to buy another calculator if she goes
on to higher math courses. I have taught many classes with mixed types of
graphing calculators.  Once a student had a ti-84+, while another had an old
ti-82.  there was not a significant time difference. The only time we noticed
was when we ran a recursive program that had 500 or more iterations.
About the formulas:  Are you giving tests where you want those formulas to be
memorized?  If so, you have 2 options.  First, you can have a section of the
test that is non-calculator.  After the students turn that portion in, they
get the next page and may use the calculator.  An alternative method would be to
put the necessary formulas on the board during the test.  By the time a student
is in Algebra (even if it's just part A) they should already be familiar with
the formulas.  And in real life, workers are able to look up formulas.  I think
our time is better spent on CHOOSING the correct formula and USING it

As for the graphing speed:  Are you giving tests with so many problems that the
other students cannot finish?  That can be easily remedied.  Either give fewer
questions or provide the graphs and ask the students to interpret.  Then
graphing speed is not a factor.  

Hope this eases your concerns.

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