In this lesson, we are going to talk about graphing calculator basics. First, if your new graphing calculator comes with a manual, just take a look at the thing. You don't have to try reading the whole thing in-depth. Just skim it and get a sense for how things work and what your new graphing calculator can do. You don't have to understand everything, right from the beginning; but you want to know enough so that you can come back later and find something that you are looking for. This video covers the syntax, settings, error messages, and get you the basics so that you can further explore by yourself.
Try to flip through through the manual at some point. You don't need to read it carefully, but it can help just to have a sense for what your calculator can do. Then, you can look things up later when you need to know them.
Syntax is the arrangement of numbers and symbols to make meaning. Syntax is absolutely crucial with calculators. Your input might look like something to you, but your calculator "reads" it completely differently. Anytime your input might
be misinterpreted, use parentheses. By carefully using parentheses, you can tell the calculator what order operations should occur in and how things work. Along those lines, think about the results your calculator is giving you. Try to figure out if it's
plausible for them to be correct before automatically believing in them. If something smells fishy, double-check your syntax.
For the most part, you'll almost never need to change the settings on your calculator. The only settings you'll definitely need to care about are what unit angles are measured in (degrees, radians) and the graphing mode (function, parametric, polar).
Occasionally something will go wrong and your calculator will give you an error message. If that happens, don't panic: read the error message carefully and think about whatever you just did. Usually you'll be able to figure out what went wrong and fix
it. If you still can't make any sense of it, just do an internet search. Type the product name of your calculator and what the message says into a search, and chances are you'll have it figured out and fixed in no time.
Your graphing calculator is, without a doubt, so much more powerful than you currently realize. Basically, if you come across a new topic, chances are your graphing calculator already has some functionality connected to that topic. Just do an internet
search with the product name and the topic you're interested in.
The easiest way to learn how to use a new graphing calculator is just to play around! Be curious, try new things, and see what happens! Exploring on your own will do you a world of good. So, go crazy! Explore, play, learn!
Graphing Calculator Basics
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.