Rethinking Graphing Calculators – 7 Engaging Classroom Activities


Graphing calculators have long been a fundamental tool in mathematics education. Yet, with modern technology and innovative teaching methods, it is time to rethink how we can use these powerful devices for more engaging classroom activities. In this article, we will introduce you to seven interesting ways to incorporate graphing calculators into your mathematics curriculum and make learning more interactive and fun.

1. Calculator Race:

Divide students into small groups and give them each a graphing calculator. Project a complex mathematical equation on the board that requires multiple steps for the solution. Have each group race to solve the problem using their calculator, with the quickest team earning points or recognition.

2. Problem-Solving Scavenger Hunt:

Prepare a set of problems with a QR code attached to each one. Link the QR codes to solutions on your private website or other resources. Disperse the problems throughout the classroom or school campus. Students will need to use their graphing calculators to solve the problems and then scan the corresponding QR code to check their path (correct answer leads to another problem).

3. Generate Art with Calculators:

Invite students to experiment with different functions on their graphing calculators to create artistic patterns or images on their calculator screens. This activity introduces students not only to mathematical concepts but also exposes them to digital art creation using technology.

4. Create Your Own Function Activity:

Challenge students to create their own unique mathematical functions using graphing calculators, then present them always that demonstrate both their understanding of algebraic concepts and creative thinking.

5. Calculator-Based Treasure Hunt:

Create an indoor or outdoor treasure hunt that requires students to use their graphing calculators for navigation. Prepare clues that involve mathematical functions or equations, which they must solve using the calculator to determine directions or distances.

6. Peer Teaching and Review:

Pair up students and encourage them to explain mathematical concepts to each other (e.g., how matrices work, or how to find the determinant of a matrix) with the help of graphing calculators. This activity promotes active learning and understanding through the collaboration between students.

7. Real-World Problem Solving:

Develop problems based on real-world situations (e.g., modeling population growth, calculating compound interest, or projecting sales revenue) that require students to use their graphing calculators to analyze data and develop solutions.


By integrating these engaging activities into your classroom, you can breathe new life into mathematics education and make learning more interactive, collaborative, and enjoyable for students. Rethinking graphing calculator usage in today’s classrooms not only promotes a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts but also prepares students for the technology-driven world they will face in their future careers.

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