Mini-Math Lesson – Statistical Calculations and Fractions with the fx-260Solar

I am finishing out this week of scientific calculator explorations with a look at the fx-260 Solar. On the surface, this calculator looks really simplistic – almost four-function if you look at size and cost. But it can do so much so its looks are deceiving. The old ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes to mind!

Here are just a few of the capabilities of this little ‘engine that could’:

  • Statistical Calculations (mean, sum of values, sum of the square values, sample standard deviation, population standard deviation)
  • Fraction calculations (including mixed-number) and conversions
  • Constant Calculations (i.e. setting a constant and then using it in several different calculations)
  • Trigonometric and Inverse Functions
  • Exponents and Logarithms

There are more, but what I wanted to focus on today were two of these: Statistical Calculations and Fraction Calculations. I have made two quick videos. Having to use my document camera to record since this calculator does not have emulator software, so apologize if the lighting isn’t all that great. It is hard to record and see what you are doing with a document camera – I am learning a lot!!!

  1. Entering Statistical Data in the fx-260 Solar and Statistical Calculations

     2. Working with Fractions with the fx-260 Solar Scientific Calculator

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Mini-Math Lesson – HS Exploring Rational Exponents fx-115ESPlus2 Scientific Calculator

Today I am continuing my look at the functionality of scientific calculators by diving into more activities around expressions. I am using the fx-115ESPlus2 scientific calculator. This scientific calculator is really a powerful one for high-school level mathematics courses because of some of it’s more advanced capabilities such as being able to do numeric integration/differentiation and solve polynomials, just to name a couple. We are just going to look at two different aspects – the ability to use the calculator to evaluate expressions (in this case, exponential) relatively quickly, and the ability to make a table of values and compare two functions.

I am only exploring one activity today because there are a lot of important connections being made to student prior knowledge and also their ability to discern patterns. The activity is focused on applying prior knowledge and understanding of inverse operations and inverse numbers (reciprocals/additive inverses) and integer exponent properties, and how these all work to help make sense of rational exponents. These are important connections, and the activity provides students the chance to collect data, compare and look for patterns, and develop their own understandings about rational exponents and how they relate to radicals and integer exponent properties. The goal is for students to make the connections themselves and then be able to apply their understanding to expressions involving rational exponents.

Here is the link to the activity and a video that shows the two main features of the fx-115ESPlus2 that are utilized in this discovery lesson.

  1. Let’s Be Rational and Get To The Root
  2. Video Overview – fx-115ESPlus2 – Table of Values and Evaluating Expressions

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