# Preparing Inservice Middle Grades Teachers to Use the TI-73

### Ronald J. Harshbarger

Department of Mathematics
University of South Carolina Beaufort
USA
Phone: (843) 785-3995

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### Lisa S. Yocco

Department of Mathematics and Learning Support
Georgia Southern University
P.O. Box 8121
Statesboro, GA 30460-8121
USA
Phone: (912) 681-0264

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## ABSTRACT

Because technology is becoming increasingly available in middle schools, it is important for inservice teachers to be able to use technology, especially graphing calculators, effectively in their classrooms. The TI-73 Graphing Calculator has features that are unique and aimed at the Middle School student. Few inservice middle grades teachers in our service areas have had contact with graphing calculators, and virtually none have used the TI-73 calculator. Thus a workshop was developed that gives these teachers experience using the TI-73 as a teaching tool, and that serves as a teaching model for the introduction of technology into their classrooms.

In the workshop middle grades teachers experienced how to make learning math interesting and fun through projects using the special features of the TI-73. We introduced the teachers to the TI-73 by first showing them some keystrokes and features that are useful in the middle grades classroom, and then had them participate in activities or projects designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the calculator. Courtesy of the Texas Instruments loan program, each teacher had a TI-73 to work through the projects that they could use in their classroom. Some of the activities that were presented illustrate how to prepare statistical description of data, how to use integer division in elementary number theory, how to use the draw and graphing capabilities to introduce analytic geometry, and how to bring several features together in one project.

In addition to the features on other graphing calculators, the TI-73 features include integer division, measurement conversion, a text editor, operations with constants, operations with fractions, simplification of fractions, keystroke conversion of fractions to and from decimals, and conversion of improper fractions to and from mixed numbers. It also has more statistical features than most other calculators; it displays pie graphs, pictographs, and enhanced histograms, and has spreadsheet capabilities. Some of the TI-73 features are designed specifically to enhance teaching of mathematical concepts. For example, it has an auto simplification mode for fractions, but it also has a manual simplification mode, which asks students to assist in the simplification process.

The goal of the workshop was to offer activities that assist inservice teachers in learning how to use the TI-73 and in using proper pedagogy as they introduce technology into their classrooms. The workshop was offered in several locations, and the TI-73 was received enthusiastically.

Keyword(s): graphing calculators, teacher training