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Calculator Lessons from Texas Instruments

Texas Instruments' proven solutions for education are based on years of experience working with educational leaders, constant teacher feedback, and accepted pedagogical standards. Here are some teacher-created activities for math and science using the TI-73 Explorer™ graphing calculator..

That's a Stretch
In this activity, students explore elasticity by looking at the relationship between the stretch of a spring and the number of weights in a cup suspended from the spring. Students will use their TI-73 Explorer™ to find values for x and y and then plot points to find the line of best fit.

Off to the Races
In this activity, students take a look into the world of thoroughbred racing. They will use the Probability Simulation App on their TI-73 Explorers to investigate factors that affect the outcome of a horse race.

Let's Settle This
In this activity, students will perform an experiment to simulate sediment deposition in still water. Using a TI-73 Explorer™, CBL 2™, and light sensor, students will be able to look for connections between the way water settles in the experiment and the process by which sediment settles out of the Mississippi River to form costal wetlands.

The New Color of Money
In this activity, students use a graphing calculator to create a graph of all possible combinations of $1 bills and $20 bills that could be used to make a total of $130 million. The activity provides students an opportunity to create a scatter plot of various combinations of U.S. currency and then generate an equation to represent the data.

It's Greek to Me
In this activity, students will review finding the Greatest Common Factor using prime factorization and listing. They will investigate Euclid's algorithm of finding GCF and compare it to methods already learned.

Go for the Gold
In this activity, students will explore and use the concept of ratio in a real-world situation. They will make judgments regarding accuracy and precision of measurement.

Nutria and the Disappearing Marsh
In this activity, students will examine changes in the nutria population, vegetation density, and marsh area over time. They will use data from the National Wetlands Research Center and your TI-73 Explorer™ to graph and analyze the effects of nutria on marsh loss. Click here for a Nutria activity for students.

Land Erosion-Does Vegetation Matter?
In this activity, students will collect runoff from two simulated sites: 1) a tray with soil, 2) a tray with grass covered sod, to see how vegetation affects erosion. They will use a turbidity sensor, a TI-73 Explorer, and a CBL 2™ or LabPro® to compare and examine the runoff from the sites. Click here for a Land Erosion activity for students.

Taste Test
Students will taste test three unlabeled brands of cola, lemon-lime, and non-cola drinks. They use their sample data to create pictographs, bar graphs, and pie graphs.

Collect All Ten to Win!
Students simulate a contest that requires participants to collect 10 different tokens found in the bottom of specially marked cereal boxes. They will determine the average number of cereal boxes a person must buy in order to "collect all ten to win."

The U.S. Constitution
In this activity, students use flashcards on their TI handhelds to sort and categorize the 27 amendments to the Constitution; they analyze and rewrite 10 of them in their own words. (Check out American History Lesson with the TI-73 Explorer for an alternative, pencil-and-paper version of the lesson.)

Tropical Forests: Cleaning the Air?
In this activity, students measure the CO2 level in a bottle that contains spinach leaves when it is exposed to light. They collect CO2 data and observe the effects of photosynthesis as they add leaves to the bottle.

How Does Blubber Work?
Students appreciate how California sea lions and northern elephant seals stay warm by performing an experiment in which blubber is simulated with shortening, heat loss data is collected, and data comparisons are shown.

Landform Geography
Students use flashcards on their TI handhelds to create a book and construct a mural to illustrate their knowledge of earth landforms. (Check out Geography Lesson B for an alternative, pencil-and-paper version of the lesson.)

Warm Water: A Good Thing?
Aquatic animals and plants are sensitive to temperature changes. Students perform an experiment at a local aquatic site to measure air and water temperature.

The Greenhouse Effect a Good Thing?
Scientists debate whether carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. In this activity, students model the greenhouse effect. They compare temperature changes from a heat source in the open air and two containers (one with more greenhouse gases than the other).

Factors Galore: Common Factors
Students simplify fractions and investigate common factors and the greatest common factor of the numerator and denominator.

Graphing Motion and Forces
Students calculate the speed of banana racers based on their distance and time traveled. Then they create a graph to represent data they collected. Also: Exploring the vocabulary of the science of motion.

Graphing Ordered Pairs
Students begin the activity by entering data into lists on their TI-73 Explorer calculators. The x- and y-coordinates will be graphed as scatter plots that make rectangles. Lesson extension: Students create their own polygons.

Candy Caper
Students estimate the number of candies in six different containers. They compare their estimates to the actual number of candies in each container and determine the relationship between those two numbers.