Exam Mode On Casio’s New fx-9750GIII Graphing Calculator

Exam Mode – something that makes teachers and test providers happy. Maybe not something on everyone’s mind right now, but an important feature on Casio’s newest addition to their graphing calculator line. The fx-CG500, fx-CG50 color graphing calculators already have Exam Mode, so the fx-9750GIII now has that capability as well. In today’s post, I want to discuss briefly what Exam Mode even means, and then provide a how-to video which shows how to set the fx-9750GIII into exam mode.

Letting the calculator ‘do the work’ for you is always a big concern for teachers, especially during testing, particularly standardized testing. If students are asked to find the factors of a given equation, we want them to find them using mathematical skills and understanding, not by pushing ‘solve’ on the calculator and letting technology take over. This does not show what the students can do. Which in theory is the point of exam mode – forcing some functionality of the technology to be temporarily suspended so that the students must do and show the work. My personal opinion is that if this is your fear, then you aren’t asking very good test questions…..but….that is obviously a post for another time!!  Since a majority of ‘tests’ (particularly standardized) are more focused on process and steps, turning off the auto capabilities of the technology makes sense – it forces students to have to show and do the steps manually. This is exam mode, something required by many state and national tests in order for a calculator to be on the approved list.

I remember as a teacher in Virginia, when getting ready for the state Standards of Learning tests, having to put all my classroom calculators into test mode. An incredibly time consuming task (using a TI at the time), and then having to reverse the process once the testing was over, which was insanely even more cumbersome. Casio has at least made the process easy.  Getting into Exam Mode is relatively quick – following some prompts on the calculator. But getting out of Exam Mode is brilliant – just wait 12 hours and it auto-shuts off.  You don’t have to remember to do anything, or go through the process of connecting to your computer.  Obviously, if you don’t want to wait, you can do the longer process, but as a teacher – waiting the 12 hours is golden!!

What does Exam Mode prevent students from doing? Basically, all programs that might have been entered are locked out, e-Activities, vector commands, E-con mode, and storage memory access are locked out, and no add-in apps either (like Physium, for the Periodic table). This renders the calculator safe from ‘doing the work’ for the students (i.e. a program to solve for example). Below is a link to a how-to video that shows you how to put the fx-9750GIII into Exam Mode and what steps to follow to take it out of Exam Mode. The beautiful thing being you don’t have to do anything to take it out of Exam Mode – just wait!!

Video: fx-9750GIII Putting the Calculator into Exam Mode

 


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Here are quick links:

Traveling the Circle – Exploring Arc Length with the fx-9750GII

I went on a bike ride this morning. I have a new app for my phone that keeps track of my distance, route, and speed. It gives me average miles-per-hour, calories, and total time as well. Pretty amazing what these apps do – don’t need to do much thinking. However, it did get me thinking!

Obviously, the app is going off of speed and time, as well as GPS location, since it is mapping the actual route I take (very helpful for figuring out how to get back home). Miles/hr is impacted by my pedaling speed, hills, the gear I am in, and any stopping I do along the way (which trust me, happens – gotta catch my breath after some of the hills!) The size of my wheels and the distance covered in one rotation obviously is involved to some degree, but not something the app is calculating. My husband and I can be on the same bike ride, travel the same distance, go the same speed and number of miles, but his tires are much larger than mine. So my assumption is he is pedaling less than me due to the radius of his tires. Which means, in my perfectly logical way of thinking, I work out harder than my husband (lol)!

But this brings me to today’s mini-math lesson, which is exploring the distance traveled by a tire/wheel of a bike, car, truck, etc. Radius and rotation make a difference. I am using the fx-9750GII graphing calculator and an activity from one of the Casio Resource Books, Geometry ,  called Traveling the CircleThis is  a geometry activity, that looks at the application of distance, circles, radius, degrees, radians, arc, arc lengths and more. Students explore how different radii/diamters and angle of rotation determine the distance covered by different tires. They also use the understanding of arc length to determine distance around a curved track (think a typical high school running track). They look at domes and circular shelving. In the process, they are collecting data, using formulas and applying ratios/proportions and looking at practical uses for needing to know the distance of arc lengths.

 

Attached is the PDF of the actual activity. It includes standards, some calculator tips that are specific to the fx-9870GII but obviously can be used/applied to any Casio graphing calculator since they follow the same steps. There are 4 different sections of the activity, each with questions, so it’s a nice look exploration of circles and arc length and how radius/diameter impacts the distance. There is also a video overview that goes through some of the basic operations/functions needed and used in the activity, such as creating tables, doing calculations, using formulas, etc.

  1. Traveling the Circle – Geometry
  2. Video Overview – Formulas and Table of Values and Rational Number Entry

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

Here are quick links:

Mini-Math Lessons -fx-9750GII Solving Systems Multiple Ways

Continuing my focus on functions/equations this week, I am going to explore some ways to solve systems of equations. The activities I am sharing include the by-hand methods we want students to learn, such as substitution and elimination, but also included are solving using technology and a simultaneous equation solver, and graphing to find the point(s) of intersection. The video that I am including shows you how to use the fx-9750GII graphing calculator to do these. Keep in mind, if you are familiar with Casio graphing calculators, that you can do the same steps with the fx-9860GII, the CG10 and the CG50. Big difference between these is screen size and/or color options. But – if you know the steps in one, you pretty much know the steps in all of them – something that really helps with students who might have slightly different versions.

The first activity, as you will see in the video, really goes through solving equations in several ways, with the simultaneous option as another alternative or, better yet, a way for students to verify their solutions done the other way. This to me is an excellent use of technology – i.e. verification after students have solved another way, such as substitution and/or elimination. The second activity demonstrates how to use technology to both see the graphs of the equations, the intersection point (s) and how to visually determine and verify a solution to the system. Included in this are tables of values for each equation as well, so students can see how the tables are another way to find solutions or at least a range of where the solution might be. The activities together really provide a nice overall look at the many ways to solve systems of equations, which is so important for students to realize that there are multiple ways to approach solving.

Here are the links to the activities and the video overview:

  1. Solving Systems of Equations – Algebra I
  2. Graphing Systems – Algebra I

 


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Here are quick links:

New Year – New Start with Hand-held Calculators

Technology is out there in classrooms, but what is available varies widely. We hear so much about 1:1 initiatives, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices being used in math classes, but, the reality is, most math classrooms access to technology is often limited to the teachers computer/whiteboard, vs. every student having direct access to a computer/tablet. I’ve been trying to research/find hard data, which is difficult and often misleading. There is quite a bit of inequity in technology access as well, whether in devices themselves or in internet access, even within the same school districts and states. Here are some links to research/data I found, though it doesn’t really give a clear picture of what is really out there and being used by teachers and students. Obviously this is just a small sample.

From my experiences around the country, and I have traveled and worked in schools and classrooms in every state over the past 12 years, access to technology in mathematics classrooms is NOT as prevalent as the statistics indicate, and is incredibly inequitable. It’s not ‘computers for every student’ as so many articles and reports imply. It’s getting better – sure. But from my own anecdotal observations, which includes my 2-year doctoral research with several schools and teachers, what I see most are classrooms with one computer (i.e. the teachers), which are more often than not used for teaching/demonstration, occasional use of students on laptops/computers (a couple times a month), whether that be in computer labs or more often, mobile laptop/tablet carts, and more often than not, hand-held calculators as the daily, go-to technology for students. And technology ‘use’ for instructional purposes with students is more as a calculating tool or a game-playing and/or review for practicing math concepts, not for truly learning WITH technology. Again – this is based on my hundreds of experiences working in schools with math teachers around the country, but I think it’s pretty indicative of the reality of what is really available and being used. So, while the rumor out there is hand-held calculators (which can include mobile phones, though those are still not allowed in most schools) are going away, the reality is, based on my experiences, hand-held calculators are still the most-used technology tool in math classrooms and still predominantly used on many standardized tests that have not converted to online platforms. A huge reason is obviously cost – schools can provide all students with access to graphing calculators, scientific calculators and/or four-function calculators at a fraction of the cost of laptops/tablets. And, as we all know, education funding seems to decrease every year, so cost is a factor, which includes replacement costs. Calculators are also portable, don’t require internet access, and students/parents can buy their own for home use inexpensively as well.

With that said, I am going to focus my posts in January for the New Year on calculators and how you can take a new look at a technology that is readily available for students and that can enhance mathematics. This post, I am going to focus on a couple graphing calculators – i.e. the CG50 and the 9750GII to show how even a small device such as these can offer ways for students to explore multiple representations, collect data, analyze information and make decisions using mathematics. These two calculators are very similar, with the CG50 being in color and having 3D, but for the most part, you can do the same things on both. For this reason, I am going to use both to demonstrate different parts of the same activity to show that you can use either and accomplish the same discoveries with students.

The activity I am focusing on is one called Life Expectancy, available for free as part of the free lessons/resources from Casio Education. You can access Life Expectancy and others in the Fostering Series Sampler (this specific activity starts on page 13). This lesson involves looking at different representations of data to find key information about the data, analyze trends, and compare the representations to make decisions about which are the most appropriate and why (so box plots, histograms, pie-graphs, scatter-plots, and xy-lines). I have provided two videos, one with the 9750GII that shows how to enter data into the statistics menu and make a histogram, and box-plot from the same data; one with the CG50 that shows how to make a scatter plot of the same data, with a linear regression. All the steps for each are in the activity, so the videos are just a visual of what you can do. The steps are the same for both calculators, so whether you have the 9750GII or the CG50, either video will show you how to create the statistical plots (and, bonus, if you have the 9860, it works for that graphing calculator too!!) What I hope you get out of this is that with the use of calculators, you can provide visuals and multiple representations that allow students to analyze the math, make connections, and more importantly learn with the technology instead of just using technology as a calculation device to get a simple solution.

 

Histograms and Box-Plots on 9750GII (but same steps for CG50 and 9860):

 

Scatter Plot and Linear Regression on CG50 (but same steps for 9750GII and 9860):

 

 

Equations & Art – Winter Fun with Technology

Tree with plotted points

It’s that time of year – countdown until winter break.  As many teachers know, this is often a difficult time to get students to focus and learn, so often we try to keep them engaged with ‘activities’, often that are NOT connected to the subject (i.e. watching ‘holiday’ movies). One thing in math that you can do to both engage, challenge, and still keep learning at the forefront is to do some art with math. Winter-related is always fun (i.e. snowflakes, snowman, ornaments etc.). Often plotting-points on grids to create images is the go-to type of activity, but I also suggest that you take advantage of the technology you might have in your classroom (graphing calculators for MS/HS students, or math software, like ClassPad.net). You can do both plotting points using technology tools as well as more advanced creations, exploring how equations and domain/range constraints can create some interesting ‘winter creations’.

I have been having a bit of fun this morning playing with equations – linear, conic, parametric, parabolic, and plotting points to come up with some winter images. I’ve shared several images here – done both in ClassPad.net as well the graphing calculator, CG50. What you can do with students is challenge them to come up with their own creations. Maybe limit them to only linear equations and inqualities, or only parametric equations, or they have to use a combination. In the process of creating and exploring, students are really deepening their understanding of what the different coefficients in an equation/inequality do to impact the graph. And they can play around with different forms of the equations/inequalities, since some forms control the shape/movement of the graph more efficiently. For example, I like the slope intercept form of the linear in my creations because I can control the slope. I like the standard form of the circle because I can control the center. You will note also that in some of these images, the axes are showing, and some are not. I created them with the axes but then turned them off once I was completed. I also played around with my window/scale.  All of this is using mathematics and trying to really manipulate the domain, range, and using the right equations to create the shapes I wanted. A nice review and extension of prior knowledge and in the process of being creative, students are deepening their understanding of the equations and their graphs.  Here’s a link to all the ClassPad.net examples below (free CP.net usable activity):

Parametric equations only example (the Classpad.net GIF uses a slider to change the snowflake):

Snowman using circle equations, linear equations with limited domain, and parabolas with limited domain.

 

Snowflake with circle equations, linear equations with limited domains, plotted points and parametric equation.

Christmas Tree with plotted points, polygons (using geometry tools).