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What is Graphing Calculator?

Graphing calculator is a portable calculator that helps drawing graphs, solving synchronous equations, and performing other tasks with variables. Most of the calculators are programmable, which allows users creating programs, usually for engineering/scientific and educational applications. As these types of calculators have a big display, they typically show several lines of text and calculations on the screen at the same time.


The first commercially available calculator was produced by Casio in 1985. Casio’s calculator was producing calculators adding various innovations each year, among which were a menu of icons, which gave easy ingress to various functions, colorful graphing, memory that could be expanded, in-put and output in the form of a textbook, backlight on the screen, full-color, high resolution of a backlit screen.

In 1986, Sharp released its first graphing calculator. Since then, the company was producing models with editor for equations, touchscreen, and collapsible keyboard, which makes the learning easier.

Hewlett Packard then followed the form of the HP-28C, as well as many other models. The model HP 50g, which was released in 2006, has a computer algebra system that is capable of doing actions with symbolic expressions and analytic solving.

A powerful and unusual CAS calculator is now obsolete. The Hp-28 and -48 lines were mainly created for the professional engineering/science markets. Some models of the HP were sold in the market of high education, while the others were used by both educational and science/engineering markets. The graphing calculator of HP series is best known for the notation of Reserve Polish, interface of the Reserve Polish Lip, although the HP-49G also presented a standard expression entry interface.

In 1990, Texas Instruments started releasing calculators, the oldest version of which is TI-81. Most of the recent calculators are pretty similar with the addition of more memory, faster processors, and connection of the USB. Other models of TI are invented to be appropriate for students of 10-14 years old. There are models that are designed just for calculus. The main target of TI is producing calculator for the educational market, however they are also available for the general public.

Features of Graphing Calculator

  • Computer algebra systems

Some calculators have a system of computer algebra, which means that they can produce symbolic results. These calculators can deal with algebraic expression, manipulating operations as expand, factor, and simplify. Besides, they can produce answers in exact form without numerical approximations. Calculators with the system of computer algebra are called CAS or symbolic. Among symbolic calculators there are the following: Casio ClassPad, TI-89, HP-50g.

  • Graphing calculator in laboratory usage

Many calculators can be connected with such electronic devices as ph gauges, electronic thermometers. weather instruments, accelerometers, light and decibel meters, and other sensors and therefore function as WiFi, data loggers, or other communication modules for monitoring, polling and interaction with the professor. Exercises in student laboratories with data from such devices intensify learning of the math, especially mechanics and statistics.

  • Games on Graphing Calculator

As these types of calculators are usually readily user-programmable, they are also widely applied for gaming purposes, with a sizable amount of user-created game software on most popular platforms. Even though, various portable gaming devices can be of the same price range, calculators offer a capability of superior math programming for games based on math. However, for advanced users and developers, like analysts, researchers, and gamers, third party software development that involves firmware mods, whether for capabilities of exploring or powerful gaming beyond the published sheet of data and college tests, where these devices are targeted. Today, researchers and graduate students have turned Computer Aided Software for experimenting as well as for learning.

  • Color on Graphing Calculator

Some calculators can do color output and feature interactive and animated drawing of math plots (in 2D and 3D). Also they can feature other figures, including animated algebra theorems, preparation of documents, which can include these drawings and plots. Some manufacturers also offer computer software for working and emulating with portable graphing calculations.

Application of Graphing Calculator in Education

  • North America.
    In North America, teachers of mathematics, allow and even encourage high school students to use calculators during class. Sometimes, they are even required. In certain classes, however, the calculators can be not allowed, for example, on physics or chemistry, because of their capacity to have full periodic tables.
  • United Kingdom.
    In United Kingdom, a graphing calculator is allowed for students of A-level math courses, however, they are not required and the exams are made in such a way that students don’t need to use calculators. The same at GCSE, where courses include one paper and calculators are not allowed. The application of calculators at GCSE is not popular with cost being one of the main factors. The application of CAS is not permitted during GCSE, nor A-level. The SQA in Scotland allows the use of calculators during examinations in math, however it should be checked before the exam by the investigator or given to students by the exam center, as certain information/functions are not allowed to be kept on a calculator in the exam. SQA exams don’t appreciate graphic calculators and as workings should be shown for full grades, they don’t give significant advantage over candidates who do use them.
  • In Australia, policies of using graphic calculators vary from one state to another. In Victoria, for example, the VCE indicates approved calculators as applicable for its mathematics examinations. In Further Mathematics, an approved calculator can be applied. Calculators’ memory doesn’t need to be erased. In subjects like Chemistry and Physics, students only allowed to use regular scientific calculators. In Western Australia, all tertiary entrance exams in Math involve a calculator section, according to which students can have a graphic device, including CAS. In subjects like Accounting, Chemistry, and Physics only non-programmable calculators can be used. In New South Wales, calculators are allowed for the exam of General Mathematics for Higher School Certificate, but they are not permitted at courses of higher Mathematics.
  • Calculators are banned in secondary and primary education.
  • Calculators are forbidden in secondary and primary education. Diploma courses and university degrees have their own rules on application and permitted models of graphing calculator at exams.
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