Graphing Calculators: Using Technology while Teaching Math

Graphing calculators are an excellent way of using technology while teaching math. If you are interested in other technologies, check out our page on teaching with computers or try teaching with manipulatives.Graphing Calculator

Texas Instruments Graphing Calculators

The brand for graphing calculators is Texas Instruments (TI). Most school districts use the TI-83, TI-83+, or the TI-84. The most recent model is the TI-89, which is much more user friendly and also offers many new features. This page will focus on the TI-83 family because it used so much more. C'mon, using technology while teaching math can be fun!

The Most Useful Features of a Graphing Calculator

Find equation of a line in the form y=mx+b when given two points.

  1. Push STAT

  2. Push ENTER (EDIT should be highlighted)

  3. Input x-values in L1 and y-values into L2

  4. Push STAT again

  5. Push the right arrow button twice (CALC should be highlighted)

  6. Push ENTER - the values of m (given as a) and b will appear


For a user friendly .pdf with pictures, click here.


Find solution to a system of equations in standard form

Push the MATRIX button (most models require 2nd then x-1)

Push ENTER ([A] should be highlighted)

Input in the values

Push MATRIX again

Push the down arrow to highlight [B]


Input the values

Push QUIT (2nd MODE)

Push MATRIX again and press ENTER ([A] is highlighted)

Push the x-1 button

Push MATRIX again, push down and press ENTER ([B] is highlighted)

Push ENTER - the top value is x and the bottom value is y.


For a user friendly .pdf with pictures, click here.


Tips for Using Technology While Teaching Math

Use screen capture and overhead projector so that you can demonstrate key strokes of a calculator.

If possible, acquire two overhead projectors. One to post your problems and the other for the calculator.

Allow a student to be your "finger pusher." It is a good way to engage a student and it gives you a chance to roam the room.

Make the calculator mandatory for some problems, and forbid its use for other problems.

Where and What to Buy

  The TI-89 is much easier to use and has better features than the TI-83 family. Of course, it is more expensive. Also, it is not commonly used in many school districts, so if you are a parent looking to buy a graphing calculator for your son or daughter, it is probably best to go with an 83.

Using technology while teaching math can be easy with the right training. If you are not too familiar with the graphing calculators, don't worry, it will be easy for you to pick up after a little practice.

Want to learn an fun and exciting way to teach the substitution method? Why not learn how to use algebra tiles and get a free download while you're at it? Take a look at GRADE-A's page on manipulatives.



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