Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scientific Calculators

     This has been a year for the record books!  Common Core, new state assessments, APPR, Professional Binders, Hurricane Sandy, and Scientific Calculators.  I teach 6th grade and for the first time in New York 6th graders will be allowed to use a scientific calculator on the state assessments.  They are only allowed to use them for Book Two and Three.  Until now, my students used just a plain old four function calculator sometimes during class and never on tests or state assessments.  My reaction to this news--not good! I didn't know how I was going to find the time to teach my students how to use this new calculator.
     My school district ordered the same scientific calculators the 7th and 8th graders use, the Texas Instruments TI 30X.  They were delivered to my room mid December and honestly they sat in the box for a few weeks.  When I finally unpacked them and gave them to my students, they were so excited!  I explained to my students, that I was not really sure how to use this specific calculator so we would all learn together.  They loved the fact that I didn't know how to use this calculator and decided they would teach me!
     The very next day students came into class ready to teach me.  They were ready to show me all they learned from the internet, brothers, sisters, and friends.  So one at a time they began to show me all the fabulous things this new calculator could do.  They had so much information it was overwhelming.  We decided to devote a short amount of class time on Tuesdays to learn how to use the calculator slowly.  We named this special time TI Tip Tuesday.

     On TI Tip Tuesday the students are in charge.  Students who have a tip explain to the class how the function works, demonstrate what buttons to press, and then we all practice.  They have so many fantastic tips.  I created a special Ti Tip Tuesday recording worksheet so we can write down the tips for reference.  My students keep their reference sheets in the back of their binder. I also display a large picture of the calculator during this time on the Activboard.  Students use this to point out which buttons to press.  

We all look forward to this special time each week.  I plan on continuing TI Tip Tuesday next year too.

    Scientific Calculators = Motivated Students

If you are using the same calculator and would like a copy of the worksheet click the link below to download.  File is editable so you could change the picture of the calculator to the one you are using.  Also included in the file is a TI Tip Thursday worksheet just in case we choose that day next year.


  1. I like having the kids write their own tips...great idea!! I don't remember using a scientific calculator until 9th grade when I was in school.

    I have to say, I'm glad you & other teachers will teach 6th Grade. I WILL NEVER teach 6th Grade again (I did it for 2 yrs). I've taught PK-7, except 1st and 4th. I currently teach 3rd Grade Reading in TX.

    This Little Piggy Reads

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