The Graphing Calculator – Cheap at Twice the Price

Following recently reading an article on the internet written by a father who was absolutely furious that (1) graphing calculators are so expensive, and (2) they haven’t come down in cost over time as electronic devices usually do; I have decided i need to give this issue some historical point of view as well as handling his complaints. best graphing calculator

First, though, I would like to reassure this father and parents out there that you will be not alone in these frustrations. 23 years in the past, the high school where I used to be teaching mathematics used a textbook series (UCSMP) that was highly graphing calculator dependent; and My spouse and i spent the remaining of my mathematics teaching career talking about this very issue with many parents. Nevertheless , because I am probably substantially older than almost all of you who have had to deal with buying your children graphing calculators–which means I went to secondary school BC (Before Calculators); also because I was a math major is school; and because I spent many years teaching higher-level mathematics courses using the graphing calculator, I have a completely different perspective on the graphing calculator.

When My spouse and i was in high school graduation, calculators were not yet easily accessible and would not have been allowed in any high school math class anyway. I purchased my first calculator in late 1960s for my college or university Calculus class. That calculator was huge (about 4 inches wide wide, 6 inches long and 2 inches thick), had to be connected into the wall, only had an one series screen, and only performed 4 functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). That cost $99 which was a great deal of money in 1968; but I considered it well worth every penny. It was going to save lots of me so much time by reducing many time-consuming and tedious computations (especially long division). My spouse and i was excited and considered it a bargain.

My personal next calculator was purchased in 1973 for my graduate degree. I was going to be taking both math statistics and psychology statistics and both courses required having the capacity to determine the standard deviation of any set of data. This kind of requires choosing the square main of a number a painstaking process when created by hand! My new calculator still had only one line on the display, but it was much smaller (about 2 ins by 3 inches and thin), ran on electric batteries, and had one additional function. It could determine the square root of many in addition to the normal four functions. I paid $99 just for this calculator as well that has been still a great offer of money. But We were so excited by the square root button that, again, I sensed it was worth every penny. Math was heading to be so much easier now.

Small calculators were becoming available, but it took a long time for the philosophical issues around allowing calculators in their classroom to be resolved. Many experts felt that the calculator would damage students’ skills to perform basic skills, and it has done exactly that. But others experts noticed the calculator as allowing students to delve more deeply into mathematics and permit for much more complicated situations to be studied, and they have done that as well.

Now, jump frontward to 1988 and Atmosphere Academy Secondary school District #20 with its graphing calculator based textbook series and the new need for each and every student to have a graphing calculator. Enter the TI-80. Then a TI-85. Then simply the TI-83 and TI-83+. The price of each of people calculators? You got it–$99. I retired from teaching in 2005, but because I proctor AP exams for a local high school, I understand that schools are now using the TI-84+. TI features two new graphing calculators, the TI-Nspire and the TI-Nspire CAS. Only time will tell if high schools will start recommending/using either.