is a useful tool to save time and check arithmetic. It can
certainly also be helpful with more complicated calculations, with
graphing and (in the case of some fancier calculators) with
complicated symbolic manipulations. A computer program like
Mathematica, Maple or Matlab is even more useful for serious
a beginning course like Math 131, it's important to
understand what's actually happening with certain calculus computations
and to learn what insight these results give about the behavior of functions and
their graphs. So it's important to learn to do some of these
computations "by hand" in relatively simple situations. Some of
these calcultations may not
seem "simple" as you're learning them, but -- trust me -- they really are
simple compared to some of the messy things that come up when calculus is
seriously used in the real world. They do get easier with
practice, just as elementary arithmetic and algebra became easier as you
with them more and more, and in more complicated applications,
scientists and engineers feel free to bring in the full power of
No calculators of any kind will be allowed during exams and quizzes in Math 131.
The use of any calculator or electronic device during exams or quizzes is an academic integrity violation.
The problem with allowing even simple calculators is that there are
there are many, many brands and models, most with slightly different
features. It's very
time-consuming to determine all the features available on each and
one of them. Some calculators, even
though quite "cheap," have much more power than you'd expect and would
confer an unfair advantage to a student who happens to have one of
it would be very disruptive to students taking an exam in a large
room for the proctors to check whether each student's
calculator is ok or not.
course you might want to use a calculator, even a fancy one, when you're doing
homework, and that's entirely up to you. You can also make use of some free tools online -- or example, Wolfram Alpha. But if you do, then be careful
not to overuse technology. On exams and quizzes, you'll need to be able
to handle standard basic problems, similar to homework, without the fancy machinery.
You are probably overdependent on your calculator if
all homework should be doable with using a calculator at all, and
test/quiz questions will be designed to avoid a great deal of
- You use a
calculator when you need to know sin (pi/6) or tan(pi/3) or
ln ( e ^ ( -3.9) ).
- You consistently 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
in relatively simple problems generally means you're using the
calculator too much.
- You don't know the general features and "shape" of simple graphs like y = (x-1)^2, y = cos(2x) + 1, y = 2^(-x), etc.
without having your calculator graph them.
- You find yourself immediately
punching buttons on the calculator as soon as you get started on a
test. No problems on exams or quizzes should
require a calculator.
There are some examples n the text that show you how a calculator could be used. Don't worry if you don't have a
calculator to do these things, but do read over the examples to see what
For future information. You probably won't need a calculator--cetainly not a fancy one--for your introductory math classes. However, our
statistics courses Math 2200 and 3200 require a calculator (not terribly
has certain built-in statistical functions. Most of the more advanced
courses in statistics and numerical methods make use of some kind of
computer software (SAS, R, Matlab,...) rather than hand-held