The 4 Best Graphing Calculators for High School Classrooms

Are you a high school teacher or even a SAT/ACT mentor looking to upgrade your calculators in the classroom? If so, you’ve come to the right place. With the end of summer approaching, it’s time to start planning for the upcoming school year, to optimize your classroom experience and understand the best types of calculators for high school students. Because of the advanced levels of calculations needed in algebra courses and higher, every student should have access to an advanced calculator. 

Choosing the right scientific calculators for school might sound daunting due to the amount of different graphing calculators in the market, especially for the more advanced math courses in high school. This process is easier than it sounds if you understand each of their main functions and your personal classroom needs. Below is a list of four calculators for high school students that allow students to make advanced calculations and are even allowed for use on other important tests. Furthermore, choosing the right calculator also means it can be used beyond high school years and onto college-level courses. 

What is a Graphing Calculator?

The difference between a regular, scientific, or graphing calculator is simple, yet complex. A regular calculator performs basic mathematical functions, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. However, scientific and graphing calculators perform much more advanced functions to break down complex math problems. A scientific calculator has extra buttons for parentheses, trigonometric functions, exponents, inverses, and much more. A graphing calculator does even more – on top of performing those advanced, scientific functions, it allows users to type in a function and visually see it on a graph. For high school teachers and students, having graphic calculators advances the classroom learning experience. 

The 4 Best Graphing Calculators for High School:

  • Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

This calculator is probably one that is most familiar to students – it provides modern and convenient features that make it more useful than other Texas Instruments calculators. This particular model has a large, full-color display, with the option of getting the product in many different colors. TI-84 Plus CE has been designed to be physically lighter and thinner for use and transportation in students’ backpacks. It can be used in any high school algebra course, while also being SAT and ACT approved graphing calculators for students. However, it’s important to note that this TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator does not display complex algebraic equations as well as calculators with CAS, such as TI-Nspire CX II CAS. 

  • TI-Nspire CX II CAS Graphing Calculator 

TI–Nspire CX II CAS Graphing Calculator is Texas Instrument’s top of line calculator. It has an extensive array of features, with 100MB of storage. It can be used for every science and math subject, from algebra classes to calculus classes. It also includes a full-color display, giving users the ability to graph multiple lines at once. Additionally, this calculator comes with the Computer Algebra System (CAS), which is a powerful feature for complex algebra equations. When looking for the best calculators for school, it’s important to consider this model, but also understand that not all students might need the features it provides and it is not allowed on all standardized tests that high school students might be required to take. However, CAS allows students to work through complex problems that could be very useful for the classroom. 

  • Texas Instruments TI-89 Graphing Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-89 Graphing Calculator can compute some of the most advanced functions that a calculator can compute. This model is optimal for those students who want to use only one calculator throughout high school, but don’t want all the extra features that new calculators in the market have. Although it is an “older” model, it is tested and true. For high school students looking for one calculator to use throughout their high school career, they’re in luck because the TI-89 Graphing Calculator is also an AP exam and SAT approved. In addition to being a great calculator for high school, it is great for anyone pursuing work in statistics or engineering. 

It’s important to note that TI-89 graphing calculators are not as standard as the other Texas Instruments calculators on the list – there’s not as much instruction on the many functionalities as other models, so students will need to teach themselves how to use it. Additionally, it has a black and white display, so there are graphing limitations that make it feel dated. 

  • HP Prime Graphing Calculator 

The HP Prime graphing calculator might not be as popular as Texas Instruments calculators, but it has extensive mathematical features that might be overlooked. It might not be ideal for a student who is not very interested in math, but might be a great fit for students who want a calculator that they will grow to understand more and more. HP Prime is a strong, yet thin and light design, with full-color and touchscreen features. Luckily for high school students who might be interested in this model, it can be put into “exam mode,” which disables CAS so it can be used on AP and SAT exams.  

Because the HP Prime is less popular than Texas Instruments calculators, teachers might be less familiar with it in order to teach students how to use it. However, it is a great option for advanced and committed math students who intend on keeping the calculator for other classes and uses. 

Contact SchoolMart today

Graphing calculators have changed the way educators teach math in the classroom, almost immediately producing answers to complex mathematical functions. For teachers looking to update their calculators for school and in the classroom, this is a great resource to help determine which is best for your students. Have more questions? Contact SchoolMart today or visit our website for more information in finding the most effective graphing calculators for your classroom.