In this lesson, we are going to talk about buying a graphing calculator. It is the age-old question - should I buy a graphing calculator? But there is actually a better, more important question to ask first: Should I get a graphing utility? The answer to that is an unqualified yes; being able to graph easily is so useful for understanding, and it doesn't have to cost you a dime. In this video you'll get some great recommendations for free online graphing utilities, as well as some offline ones. You'll also get some tips on which calculator you should buy, and where.
Buying a graphing calculator is useful, but not absolutely necessary. However, you should always get a graphing utility. There are lots of great, free graphing utilities out there! See below.
Recommended Graphing Utility-Web-Based:Desmos is an excellent online graphing calculator. It has a good interface, is very flexible, and makes beautiful graphs. Plus, it's free! Check it out here: http://www.desmos.com
Recommended Graphing Utilities-Offline Programs: Sometimes you can't to be tied to the web or you want a graphing utility with more power. If so, check out some of these free programs:
GeoGebra: Really powerful with lots of abilities. A little bit of a learning curve, but great once you know it. Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. http://www.geogebra.org
Microsoft Mathematics: Good graphing calculator with lots of abilities. Available on Windows. [Best to find it by searching for "Microsoft Mathematics", but you can also try this link: Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 (published 2011)]
Grapher: If you have a Mac, you already have this installed. It comes automatically with a Macintosh computer and you can find it in the path: Applications/Utilities/Grapher.
Graphing Utilities-Tablet/Phone There are lots of graphing calculator apps out there for tablets and phones. Some of them are pretty good and they all cost, at most, a few dollars. (Some are even free!) There's too many different options to discuss
them all here, but just search your device's application store for "graphing calculator". Look at the descriptions and reviews to find one that suits you best.
But should buy a graphing calculator? That depends. If both of the below are true:
You plan on continuing in math and/or science after the courses you are taking this year;
Money is not particularly tight for you;
then you should almost certainly purchase a graphing calculator. The investment now will pay off later. If only one of the above is true, you might want to consider it, but you can do fine with one of the graphing utilities above.
There is no "best" graphing calculator. There are just too many factors: speed, flexibility, ease-of-use, power, teaching support, price, and more. In the end, no one calculator is best in all categories. If you're going to get a graphing calculator,
do some research, talk to people, and figure out what might work for you.
While the above is true, if you really don't feel like doing any research and you just want to buy something and be done, get either a
They are easy to learn, capable of anything you'll need for a few years, and extremely common, so it's easy to find help with them. All that said, they're kind of over-priced. The price has stayed constant for more than a decade, even though newer, faster,
more powerful graphing calculators have been released for less.
When buying a graphing calculator, it helps a lot to buy online. Check around and see where you can get the best price. Also consider buying used and/or asking people you know if they have one they aren't using anymore that you could borrow/buy/have.
Buying a Graphing Calculator
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