Choosing the Most Effective Graphing Calculators For Your Classroom

Most people are familiar with how the common calculator helps make math, science, and simple calculations possible, but there are many more advantages to using a dependable graphing calculator for learning, both in and outside of the classroom. With the abundance of calculator options available, you might be asking yourself what the best choice is for your classroom. Here are some trusted physical calculator options that have been used in classrooms for years along with some online calculator options that can be just as useful and cost-effective. 

Understanding a School Graphing Calculator

A graphing calculator offers more features than your standard calculator. IIt can solve complex equations, plot graphs, and store information for projects. Some models even include a computer algebra system (CAS) that helps students focus on understanding the equations and graphs they are working on instead of spending time on lengthy equations they already know how to solve. 

Graphing calculators are especially useful for calculating statistics and creating graphs in subjects such as trigonometry and calculus since they are user-friendly and programmable. With the programming feature, students can easily retrieve previous projects and integrate them with other equipment. It’s important to have many options while understanding the factors that go into choosing a calculator that best fits your students’ needs in the classroom and during exams.

Physical Graphing Calculators: Top Choices

Having physical graphing calculators in the classroom is an investment for you and your students. They allow for higher-level thinking and success during in-person exams when online calculators are not permitted. With so many options out there, here are a few that our team of EdTech Pros recommend:

  • TI-84 Plus: Your typical graphing calculator, approved for the SAT, ACT, and AP exams, perfect for middle and high school students looking to advance their math and graphing skills.
  • TI-84 Plus CE: Different from the typical TI-84 Plus, this calculator has a higher resolution full-color display with an upgrade in power and memory. It offers a better user experience, is approved for all major exams, and is rechargeable.
  • TI-Nspire CX CAS: High performing and approved for the SAT, ACT, AP and other big exams and  is great for high school students in higher level courses such as engineering, physics, and calculus. The CAS allows for information to be saved to easily go back and edit or manipulate equations on the 3.2 inch, user-friendly, and clear screen.
  • Casio FX-9860 GII: Perfect for younger students who are learning how to use a graphing calculator, the display screen and pre-loaded applications such as the spreadsheet app, geometry app, and conics app, make this calculator user friendly and cost-effective. It is approved for major exams and features200 hours of battery life.

Online Graphing Calculators: Top Choices

For those who are virtual learners, online calculators can be a cost-effective resource for the classroom to go back and look at work from anywhere. Here are some useful online calculator resources:

  • GraphCalc: A downloadable graphing calculator with similar features to the TI-84 that provides instructions on how to use the calculator and the tools that come with it.
  • Desmos: Easy to use and understand, this graphing calculator offers a full screen experience, a pop-up keyboard, and features that allow users to view equations and graphs simultaneously while saving their work on their account to go back to. 
  • Mathway: Similar to Desmos, this online calculator tool offers a pop-up keyboard, a drop-down menu, and the ability to view the graph and equations simultaneously. Mathway offers a chat feature that guides users through learning the calculator and solving equations when they create an account.
  • Meta Calculator: This resource gives users the ability to separate the functions of a graphing calculator in order to stay organized and avoid wasting time searching for specific functions. Students will be able to switch between graphing calculator, scientific calculator, matrix calculator, and statistics calculator while also having the ability to toggle between equations, tables, intersections, and plot points.
  • Geogebra: Bothuser-friendly and easily accessible, Geogebra uses clickable graphics to easily navigate through the calculator. Being able to view the equations and graphs on the same screen and having a drop-down menu with familiar options gives students the ability to see and save their work for future reference. 

Contact SchoolMart 

Graphing calculators have changed the way we can view and understand graphs and equations in the classroom. Not only are they a very useful tool, but they can save time and increase technology skills and the learning experience for students. If you’re looking to upgrade your calculators in your classroom but you’re not sure where to begin, our team of EdTech Pros at Schoolmart has got you covered. Contact us to find more calculator tools and resources to make your students’ learning experience more effective.