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Dd has a Ti-34 scientific calculator that was ACT acceptable that she has been using for math. She was being careless yesterday and dropped it on the floor, damaging the screen. She’s in 9th grade doing Saxon Algebra 2. She needs a calculator, but I don’t know what to get. She’s at the point where a graphing calculator would be helpful, but she can’t use that on the ACT. Which would you buy, or would you buy both?

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I'm of the opinion that I try not to use a calculator at all. :)

 

I know some teachers "require" a graphing calculator for algebra 2. However, I would not get a graphing calculator unless I was in the position that it was required. 

 

I like a good scientific calculator for most anything - I use a TI - 30X - about $10. 

 

A graphing calculator is required for AP calculus and AP statistics. Outside of this, I would try not to get one. It is often not allowed in college courses including calculus.

 

 

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You can use a graphing calculator on the ACT, just not one with a computer algebra system. So yes to a TI-84, not to a Nspire with CAS.

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I would get the TI-84. She can use it on the ACT and it will give her time to get comfortable with it. She will probably be required to have a graphing calculator somewhere along the way, so if you're buying at this point, it seems like a good time. The TI-84 also seems to be the most common, so when books and teachers give instructions for how to do something on the calculator, it is almost always taught. 

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Grab a cheap scientific calculator for now, get the TI84 color edition when they go on sale for back to school. There are more used calculators posted on eBay at the end of the school year so watch for that, too.

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We like a simple scientific calculator like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Casio-FX300MS-fx-300MS-Scientific-Calculator/dp/B00004U12N/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1519152250&sr=8-4&keywords=casio+scientific+calculator

 

Neither of my kids have ever needed a graphing calculator. DD is graduating with a physics degree this year, and the scientific calculator was sufficient throughout college.

 

The only place where a graphing calculator is required is AP calc.

It is unnecessary on the SAT, ACT, and SAT Math subject tests.

Edited by regentrude
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Get another TI-34 now since that is what she is used to.

 

Buy the graphing calculator when it is back to school sales. My kids use the TI-84 for calculus and statistics and it is much cheaper during back to school sales at Target, Walmart, Staples. The TI-84 can be used for ACT, SAT, AP which was why we bought that model.

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Agree that the graphing calculator is not strictly necessary, but regularly graphing equations can really help some algebra 2 and up to calculus students. My friend the math tutor has her students graphing "everything" - ideally over time they can quickly sketch a graph without their calculators, but many try to manipulate the symbols without a good picture of what's going on behind those symbols and she needs to correct for that.

 

Just because you can do math without a graphing calculator doesn't mean that's the right choice for all students.

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Agree that the graphing calculator is not strictly necessary, but regularly graphing equations can really help some algebra 2 and up to calculus students. My friend the math tutor has her students graphing "everything" - ideally over time they can quickly sketch a graph without their calculators, but many try to manipulate the symbols without a good picture of what's going on behind those symbols and she needs to correct for that.

 

Just because you can do math without a graphing calculator doesn't mean that's the right choice for all students.

 

I agree that students should graph a LOT. But they learn much more if they are made to sketch the functions by hand. They should be taught that, instead of relying on the calculator to do it for them.

I can really see the difference in students' ability to evaluate a function's behavior between the ones who have been used to reaching for their graphing calculators and those who have been trained to use pencil and paper. Many STEM students reach college unable to sketch the basic behavior of a function by quickly evaluating asymptotic behavior - they don't even know what is asked of them.

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A graphing calculator is not needed in Saxon Algebra 2. I got my dd one for Saxon Advanced Math and she made a lot of mistakes with it at first. I can only use the scientific calculator. There is a big learning curve with the TI-84 and I haven't wanted to invest the time. I think Saxon Advanced Math does a good job of teaching graphing polynomials and conic sections by hand. 

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A graphing calculator is not needed in Saxon Algebra 2. I got my dd one for Saxon Advanced Math and she made a lot of mistakes with it at first. I can only use the scientific calculator. There is a big learning curve with the TI-84 and I haven't wanted to invest the time. I think Saxon Advanced Math does a good job of teaching graphing polynomials and conic sections by hand. 

 

I think I agree with the "big learning curve" about the TI-84 Plus series of Graphing Calculators.  I was surprised when DD needed one for Algebra 1.  I think the real reason they do that is so the students can learn how to use their calculators, which are very powerful. 

 

I bought her one of these, a few months after they came onto the market in the USA, from Amazon when they had them on sale, which was not on Amazon Day.

 

https://education.ti.com/en/products/calculators/graphing-calculators/ti-84-plus-ce

 

The only problem was that the OEM battery died, approximately 10 months after she received it, after very little use.  I was not happy...   I bought her a Replacement (3rd party) battery, from a company on eBay that sells a lot of Used and Refurbished calculators. They put these batteries into Used and Refurbished calculators they sell.   It is going strong and hopefully will work for years to come.

 

I did install the latest Firmware into it.  I think it had been wiped out and I Restored it with the latest Firmware TI had on their web site at that time.

 

Also, I bought her the "Dummies" book about the TI-84 series calculators.  After DD had it awhile, she told me that I made a good decision when I bought the book for her also.  The book had helped her...  When she first received the calculator and the book she didn't think she would need the book, but it came in handy.

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You can use google as a calculator.  You can even graph things like z= x^2-y^2 (copy/paste this equation for a pretty picture) or do counting functions like 5 choose 2, just by typing it in. 

 

I would wait to buy a calculator for when she has her next standardized test so she will buy the right one.  Or buy one that uses RPN.   

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