If you are anything like me, you use the heck out of your graphing calculator. My students need all the tips and tricks they can get. The better they learn to use this great tool, the less stressful they will find the state exams. To this end, I include calculator pages in my interactive notebooks. Every time we learn a new way to use our TI-84s, we glue an image of the calculator on the page, along with step-by-step instructions. Last year at the state math conference, I won a copy of TI’s SmartView. If you don’t have this program, I highly recommend it. My favorite part of this program is creating screenshots for us to glue on the calculator pages to show exactly what we are talking about. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
When I first started using interactive notebooks, I got a lot of ideas from Sarah Carter over at Math=Love. She created a page with two TI-84 graphing calculator images, but I wanted something smaller. I decided to create a page with three images. This turned out to be the perfect size for our composition notebooks. We glue them way over on the left side, leaving us plenty of room to write the steps.
This year I started teaching 8th grade self-contained Pre-Algebra. Oh no! I couldn’t take my beloved 84s with me! The regular 8th graders are all using the TI-30 XII S. After talking to my TI-Rep (Shout out to Dana Morse for being the most awesomest TI rep ever!!), I asked Special Ed for TI-34 Multiviews. They are a step up from the 30s plus they have a lot of the same features as the TI-84s, which will make the transition a lot easier when we get to 9th grade. My favorite thing they offer is math print. This is the feature that makes a fraction look like a fraction or an exponent look like an exponent. When the 84s upgraded their programming to include this, my Regents scores jumped almost ten points across the board. Turns out my students were really struggling with how to input things like fractions using parentheses. Once the math on the calculator looked like the math on their paper, there was no stopping them! My next goal is to upgrade my high schoolers to the Nspires. I have my fingers crossed for next year. Wish me luck! Or rather calculators. Wish me calculators!!
So now that I have shiny new yellow TI-34’s, I needed to find a foldable for them. I sent out a tweet to #MTBoS asking if anyone had already created one, but no one had. So I created my own. The kids love them, and once we make a page, I just refer them back to their notebooks when they tell me they don’t remember what to do in the calculator. Easy peasy!! I don’t have SmartView for the MultiViews yet, but it’s on my list.
Not being one to leave something unfinished, I created two more calculator pages for an Interactive Notebook session I taught at the state math conference earlier this month in Rye, NY. It was a great time, and I got to meet lots of wonderful like-minded math people. I can’t wait to present again at the regional conference in March. Maybe I’ll get to see YOU there!
Want copies of my calculator pages? You can find them here: