Hand-held Graphing Calculator – Newest Model from Casio fx-9750GIII

A new model of graphing calculator from Casio came out recently (see press release), the fx-9750GIII. I can hear some of you asking “why, since everyone is going to mobile devices/computers and the internet?” The reality, which this pandemic has brought more to the forefront, is there is a HUGE disparity in access to digital technology and the internet, for a variety of reasons, which has made the mandated remote learning these last few months incredibly difficult for many schools districts, parents, teachers, and students.  There have been several articles on just how glaring the inequities are, so I have listed a couple here:

For many students, having access to mobile devices, laptops, computers, and even the internet is not possible or is a huge struggle. Hand-held calculators are a technology tool that is a much easier and more affordable option to put into the hands of every students than any tablet or laptop. Hand-held graphing calculators can do amazing things and help students explore and discover a multitude of mathematics. Calculators are still a required tool for most schools because of access, affordability, and other mandates, such as most standardized testing situations (at least for the foreseeable future after the online-assessment debacles that occurred recently). Casio, being the better calculators on the market (compared to Texas Instruments and other options) both in functionality, cost, and ease-of-use, is still improving and updating their calculators, so the new fx-9750GIII is an example of supporting the current needs that still exist and providing hand-held technology that improves based on on those needs. (To be totally upfront, this is MY opinion, from over 30 years in mathematics and having been forced to use TI calculators for over 17 of those years.) TI has a monopoly due to really good marketing and/or brainwashing, depending on how you look at it, but they are NOT a better calculator – they are hard to use or remember how to use, and let’s face it….they haven’t really changed much for years. The most popular model, the TI-84 Plus, has been around since 2004, with a slight update in 2015 to a color edition with more memory. But for the most part, the same tool for over 16 years. And still expensive. Crazy.

But I digress. Clearly don’t get me started on my TI rant!! (Though it is partly why I am a consultant for Casio – to try to deprogram people!!)

Back to the new updated Casio graphing calculator, the fx-9750GIII. I am going to focus my posts this week on this calculator, sharing some of the newer features, and looking at some of the menu options that are available and sharing some lessons as well. Today I just wanted to explore some of the new features of the calculator. Here’s a short list of some of the changes/additions, compared to the fx-9750GII and fx-9860GII models. Think of this new graphing calculator as a combination of these plus more.

Here is a short list of just some of the updates/changes/additions:

  • Math Input/Output, Linear Input/Output AND Math Input/Mixed Output modes
  • Order of Operations – clarifies entries such as 6/2(1+2) or 4π/2π (I will explore this in tomorrow’s post!!)
  • New Menu Icons – e-Activity, Spreadsheet, Add-Ins: Python, Geometry, Physium, Probability Simulator (we will explore this later in the week)
  • New types of regressions
  • 9 new probability functions
  • Ability to graph x=f(y)
  • Exam Mode
  • Catalog QR code
  • Fraction Template Button change, Standard-Decimal Button Change, and scientific notation button change (x 10^x)
  • Storage Increase (Mass Storage similar to the color graphing calculator, the fx-CG50)
  • Ability to get OS updates

Its’ a crazy powerful graphing calculator. I will explore some specific functionality in later posts this week, such as probability. Today’s short video is just a quick overview of what’s there. I have also included below a link to the Quick Start Guide for those of you interested. If you want to start exploring, you can download the emulator software (which I am using in the video), which provides free access for 90-days. It’s a great way to get a feel for the tool before you decide to purchase the hand-held hardware version.

  1. fx-9750GIII_QSG Quick Start Guide
  2. Emulator Software (free download for 90-days – choose the (fx-9860GIII download, and then when opening, select the fx-9750GIII calculator)
  3. Video Overview – fx-9750GIII Newest Casio Graphing Calculator

Be sure to visit Casio Cares: https://www.casioeducation.com/remote-learning

Here are quick links:

Mini-Math Lessons – Linear Relationship Explorations with the fx-CG500 CAS Graphing Calculator

I am going to end this week of mini-math lessons with more of a ‘discovery’ approach to linear relationships versus an actual lesson. Especially now that Casio has extended the free-trial period for all their emulator software, I thought it would be fun to share some ideas using the fx-CG500 graphing calculator, which is really a mini-computer. It’s a hand-held, with a stylus if you want to use it (though fingers work just as well), but there is so much you can do with it, and the emulator software is incredibly robust.  I admit to not being very savvy with this particular model, but am planning to learn and share along the way. Those of you who have the fx-CG400, it’s basically the same calculator except the fx-CG500 does NOT have the QWERTY keyboard, therefore it is allowed on standardized tests.  Both the fx-CG400 and fx-CG500 have a CAS (computer algebra system) so they are incredibly powerful machines that can do things like solve and factor (just to name a few!!)

There is no ‘lesson’ to share today, rather it’s just a short video that walks through some really basic functionality (i.e. linear transformations, picture plots with plotting of points, linear regression.  All to simply show how you can build in some discovery with technology tools. I plan to do more on the fx-CG500 in the future.

Here’s the link to the video and I’ve embedded it below as well.



Women in STEM – Celebrating Women’s History Month

Yesterday it was announced that mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck . from the University of Texas at Austin, had been awarded the Abel Prize 2019 “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.” Impressive in itself, but more impressive because she is the first woman ever to be awarded the prize (The Abel Prize was established on 1 January 2002. The purpose is to award the Abel Prize for outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics. The prize amount is 6 million NOK (about 750,000 Euro) and was awarded for the first time on 3 June 2003).  A fitting tribute and accomplishment during this month, which happens to be Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s’ contributions to society and history.

Seems only appropriate to dedicate this post to other significant women and their contributions to STEM, especially as there is still such a need for more women in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The more young girls and women see what others have done, the more they are inspired to pursue futures in these fields. I’ve done a little research and pulled together a few names to share in this post. By no means is this an exhaustive list, rather a list of women that sparked my interest, particularly in mathematics, since this has been my personal passion for most of my life. There are many more out there, but the idea of celebrating Women’s History Month is to realize how important, and often unknown/hidden, women have been in many of our STEM advances and historical events.

  1. Marie Curie the only woman to have received TWO Nobel Prizes (one for Physics and one for Chemistry).
  2. Gertrude B. Elion another Nobel Prize winner in Physiology, whose work contributed to many new drugs, including AZT, the aides drug
  3. Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace – credited with being the first computer programmer!!  Very cool.
  4. Barbara McClintock – Nobel Prize winner in Physiology, credited with showing that genes turn certain physical attributes on and off.
  5. Rachel Carson – credited with creating the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a result of her writings and work.
  6. Radia Perlman – commonly referred to as ‘the Mother of the Internet” for her algorithm (STP) that basically allows the Ethernet to handle massive networks
  7. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper – credited with creating the programming language C.O.B.A.L
  8. Lisa Meitner – part of the duo that discovered nuclear fission (fascinating history here about her being ignored in the awarding of the Nobel Prize)
  9. Katherine Johnson – her mathematical computations influenced every major NASA space project – wow!! (See the movie Hidden Figures)
  10. Florence Nightingale – helped pioneer the field of applied statistics and created a version of a pie chart called the ‘coxcomb‘. Totally new information for me!!

I could go on and on – it is amazing once you start looking, how many women have been pioneers, ‘firsts’, and influencers/contributors to math, science, engineering and technology. It’s exciting that so many are finally being recognized. Inspirational. There are lots of interesting articles and synopses out there that can spark student interest and maybe inspire some of our youth as well. Maybe spend some of this Women’s History Month exploring with your students or just on your own. I know I have been really surprised and amazed and plan to keep researching.

Math Hardware versus software – Similarities & Differences with Casio

Students using technology as part of learning math is important because of the extension of learning that is possible, the visual connections, and explorations that become possible as a result of technology. The most common technology students use these days are their phones, tablets, computers, and of course, hand-held devices such as calculators. It all depends where you live, what schools you attend, what’s allowed or not allowed, and also what resources are actually available and understood by both teachers and students. From my own research, some schools/teachers have a multitude of resources, but most schools have limited options. And – even if there are many technology tools available, teachers tend to utilize the tool (s) they are most comfortable with, and that the majority of students have access to. Basically, it comes down to choosing a technology that is going to support the learning and that students and teachers can use relatively efficiently, so that time is not lost to ‘tool logistics’. Often times, again, based on my own research (dissertation), teachers choose tools that may NOT be the best choice for learning because they know how to use it over a much better, more appropriate tool, that they are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with, so many times better technology tools go unused because of the ‘learning curve’.

What I wanted to use this post for today was to show how Casio has really recognized the ‘learning curve’ issue and tried to keep functionality consistent across handheld models and even in their software, providing intuitive steps and menu options right within the graphing menu itself that alleviate some of that ‘learning new tool functionality’ concerns that teachers and students often face when using technology. Our graphing calculators basically use the same steps, buttons, layout, even from the very basic ones (fx9750) (fx9860), to the more advanced ones (CG50), so if you know one, you know them all. And, even the new software, ClassPad.net, is built along the same lines, though obviously with more features and capabilities.  But there is no ‘searching for menus’ – relatively intuitive no matter the tool. Obviously, as you get into the newer models and then into the software, the functionality and options increase – we go from black-and-white displays to color, we go from intersection points on the graphing calculators to union/intersections on the software. But knowing how to use one tool makes transitioning easy, and if you had students with several different models of the handhelds, you could still be talking about the same steps and keystrokes.

The best way to compare and demo is to show you how to do the same thing on the different models. I’ve chosen to show graphing two inequalities, so that you can see, even on the older models, that shading and intersections occur. But also to show that as you progress into the newer and more powerful tools (i.e. memory capacity, color, larger screens, resolution, etc), allowing for more options and learning extensions.

Here are the two inequalities that are being graphed in each of these short GIF’s:

Each GIF below graphs the two inequalities and finds intersection points of the two graphs. The software extends that to allow for finding the Union and the Intersection of all points.





















































Be sure to check out the free software that does calculating, graphing, statistics and geometry: ClassPad.net.































































































































































New Year’s Resolutions – A Chance to Explore Some Statistics

As I was at the gym this morning, noticing the increase in people that were there, I got to thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. I personally dread the month of January at the gym because inevitably, it is a lot more crowded with all the ‘new memberships’ given as gifts over the holidays, and full of new people who have decided losing weight and getting in shape are on their to-do list for this new year. As someone who hits the gym regularly, this month at the beginning of the year is a bit frustrating because machines are taken, the parking lot is crowded, and my regular routine is often interrupted due to the increase in the number of people. I admire everyone’s new-found commitment and applaud the goal of getting in shape and being healthier – however, my anecdotal evidence over the past several years is that this commitment is short-lived for many.  By February, things tend to get back to normal because, sadly, many of our ‘new years resolution’ folks lose the commitment and stop showing up, allowing the rest of us to get back to our routines.

Which brings me back to my thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions (NYR).

From my own very unscientific observations at the gym, those that made NYR to get in shape, lose weight, etc. usually last about a month – and this is based solely on the increase in people during January, and then the slow decrease in people as the month progresses, to the return to the regular crowd by February (with, granted, a few new ‘regulars’ who stick it out). I wondered, as I was cycling, are there any statistics out there that actually show the follow-through on New Year’s Resolutions – i.e. what were the resolutions made at the beginning of the year, and what was the actual end result at the end of the year?

I was able to find statistics on the most popular NYR made last year (2018)  However, I couldn’t find any follow-up statistics to see how many people in the survey actually stuck to their resolutions, which is what I think would be interesting to explore.














I then found another source that listed the 10 most popular NYR’s made for this year (2019).  A lot of the same resolutions, though maybe different priority. Some different ones as well, which could be a factor of many things – i.e. the economy, the political climate, the source of the survey, who was surveyed, etc.

I am curious why there is no follow-up from those that conducted the surveys at the end of the year. It would be fascinating to see what the graphs look like at the end of the year compared to the beginning and why or why not some people dropped off their NYR and some stayed true.  I couldn’t find any ‘proof’ for claims such as “80% of all NYR’s fail by February“, though again, going back to my personal observations, I would agree with this claim. There are definitely a lot of articles about how to ‘keep’ your resolutions, and plenty on why people don’t stick to their resolutions, but no statistics that actually support this claim that I could find. But it would be nice to have some data or evidence that supports observations – which leads me to my final thought on a fun ‘real world’ statistical study that teachers might explore with their students for the remainder of this school year.

During this short week, where school has started up again but students tend to still be in vacation-mode, why not start a long-term study to see if we can get some statistical data about NYR’s? Have students in your class make a list of 3 NYR’s – so some goals they really plan/want to accomplish by the end of the school year. Better yet, pick a specific month and/or date (so May 30 for example). Then, compile the class data to create categories and percentages, similar to the charts above. (My guess is students will have some different things on their top 10 list, which would be interesting in itself). Have students keep a record of their progress towards their goals, and maybe on a monthly basis, do a quick survey on students progress/commitment to their NYR’s.  Then at the proposed deadline, do another survey on the success/failure to see who is still working on their goals and who is not. Obviously it is going to be self-reporting, but it would be interesting, as time goes on, to see who is staying committed, who is not, and more importantly, WHY they are not staying committed if that is the case. Do the class results verify that 80% drop off by February? Is there a common theme for those that do not follow-through on their NYR’s?

I wanted to share this as an idea for teachers who might have made their own NYR to be more creative in their math class. The only NYR I ever made each year was to try at least one new thing in my math classes every month – for me a pretty easy resolution to stick to. I would imagine many teachers do something similar. For those of you who have made NYR, good luck and Happy New Year!