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Topic: Using TI Sensors and Graphing Calculators
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Subject:   RE: Using TI Sensors and Graphing Calculators
Author: Deatra
Date: Dec 6 2005
In my experience as a student in a high school setting, the sensors are
effective in teaching only when they are presented in the right way.
One of the strengths of the sensors that I have seen is it demonstrates how
students can use math to model real life situations which gives validity to the
idea of functions.  It also takes the math outside of the classroom and into the
real world to make it an applied topic.  

One of the difficulties that we encountered in my high school was that the
students failed to make the connection between the graph the sensore provided
and the graphs we had previously done in class.  Another difficulty I have
observed is that the students deleted the data from their calculators before
analyzing it, thereby ruining the whole experiment.  

The sensors can definitely be used in a math classroom.  They can be used in
science classes as well, but I think it is important that students see math
applied in a math classroom.  In order to best use them, you have to relate
exactly what is being graphed by the sensor directly to the student so they can
see a correlation and make the connection between class work and the sensor.

As a student, I find gathering the data the most interesting part.  One approach
that worked effectively for us was to work in groups to gather the data and then
using a link cord to transfer the data to all of the calculators in the group.

Just giving the students the data (even on a video) and telling them to analyze
it has about the same effect as giving them a math textbook and telling them to
solve the problems in it.  It does not create a real-life context.  However,
if you could modify it so the on-line part was a step-by-step simulation,
it might work.  

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