Using the TI-83 in Calculus

Do not become overly dependent on your calculator.  It's a very useful tool for complicated calculations, but you should be able to do the basic computations and manipulations in calculus without a calculator--or, at most, just using it to help out with tedious arithmetic. Calculators may or may not be allowed on quizzes/tests in particular courses: check with your instructor about the course policy.  Generally, calculators with a built in CAS (Computer Algebra System) are not allowed on tests and quizzes.

You're probably too dependent on your calculator if, for example:

    1) You use a calculator when you need to know sin(pi/6) or tan(pi/3) or ln(e^(-3.9))

    2) You use a calculator to get answers in calculations such as 4/7 + 3/8, which can be easily done by hand. Finding (approximate) decimal answers instead of exact fractions in relatively simple problems generally means that a student uses the calculator too much.

    3) You don't know the appearance of simple graphs like y=(x-1)^2, y=cos(2x) + 1, y = 2^(-x), etc. without having your calculator graph them.

    4) You find yourself immediately punching buttons on the calculator as soon as you get started on a test.  Generally, not very many problems on a calculus exam will genuinely require a calculator.

The following files may be useful in beginning calculus courses. The instructions are written for the TI-83 calculator, but the methods may be similar on other Texas Instruments models.

                     Parametric Equations on the TI83
                     Approximating Derivatives with the TI83
                     Approximating Areas on the TI83
                     Midpoint Approximations on the TI83
                     Simpson's Approximation on the TI83
                     Numerically Approximating Integral on the TI83
                     Sequences and Series on the TI83