CALCULATOR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STCC STUDENTS

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this web site, and especially the suggestions on calculators, reflect the writer's subjective opinion and observations. The prices and opinions should be considered only as another source of information. The writer is not endorsing any particular brand or model of the calculators mentioned or any particular store or shop. The writer does not warrant the accuracy of any of this information. Any calculator mentioned may not be a representative sample of what is on the market, and the manufacturers may change their products or specifications without my knowing about it. Prices may change every week.

__ NOTICE__: I have been told that the math
department is migrating to the TI-84 Plus/TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, so students
should ask their teacher if that calculator will be required in a particular
course before buying another type.

**General:** All students should, of course,
ask their
classroom teacher if she/he has a recommended calculator. If the teacher
has no recommendation; then consider using the following as guidelines.
The final decision is up to the student. The prices on this sheet are
applicable in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

**Basic Math or Elementary Algebra: **

A scientific calculator should be satisfactory in most of these
classes. They are cheap enough that those who need to save money now can
buy one without a significant investment and perhaps buy a graphing calculator
later if it's needed. A scientific calculator that is entirely
satisfactory can be bought for $9.97 at places like Wal-Mart and Office Depot.
Some of them may also be available at Best Buys, Target, Office Max, and Circuit
City.

**Things to Look For**: First of all, don't buy one of
those six- or eight-function calculators that are little more than adding
machines. Definitely do buy one with a two-line display, and I like very
much algebraic entry. (That's called V-S.P.A. M for the Casio and EOS for the TIs.) The two-line displays keep both your entry
and your answer on the screen at the same time. Make sure it has "Replay"
or some such provision for moving the cursor so that you can make
corrections. You'll also need an INS, insert, for entering things you may
have left out in your entry. Make sure it has a fraction function. That
looks like this: ab/c. It should have provisions for entering powers of
10. That would be something like EE or EXP. It should also have
these: log, e^{x} ,
ln, nPr, nCr, and x^{2}, square root, and provisions for taking
roots and powers other than two (either x^{y} or ^.). Some
students may want complex number capability.

**What is Available:
**Here are some calculators
that meet the above requirements:

Calculator Model | Manufacturer | Price | Where Available |

cfx-300ms | Casio | Slightly under $10 | Office Depot, Office Depot, Best Buys, Office Max, Circuit City, perhaps others. |

cfx-115ns | Casio | Slightly under $15 | Same as above |

TI - | TI | About $10 | Same as above |

TI-30XIIs | TI | Slightly under $15 | Same as above. |

Calculators that either don't meet the above requirements or are too
expensive.:

Calculator Model | Manufacturer | Major Disadvantage |

fx- 260 | Casio | one-line display |

TI-30Xa | TI | One-line display, entry method |

TI - 34 II | TI | Too expensive |

TI-36X and 36x Plus | TI | one line display |

__ Intermediate Algebra: __ Unless your teacher specifically recommends a graphing
calculator, one of the scientific calculators listed above
would be satisfactory. But a graphing calculator would be of some help in
visualizing graphs and checking solutions. This is, of course, provided
that the student is willing to learn to use a graphing calculator. Some teachers may require graphing
calculators. If you have decided to buy a graphing calculator, you may want to read
the following section. The Durabrand, listed at the end of this document,
might be a possibility, as a compromise between a strictly scientific calculator
and a full scale graphing calculator. But without actually having used it, I am not going to
make any suggestion on it..

__ Pre-Calculus, Elementary Calculus, Finite Math, Foundations, and
Statistics:__ In almost all of these classes you should have a graphing
calculator. There may be some statistics teachers who use the scientific
calculators. Be sure to check with your classroom teacher.

Unless you're some kind of calculator guru, don't buy one of the heavy hitters like a TI-89 or a TI-86 unless you have money to burn. Chances are you'll never learn how to use most its power. Instead, buy a TI-83 Plus TI-84 Plus (or SE), or a

**Should I buy a TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, a TI-84 Plus or a
TI-84 Plus Silver Edition?
**If a few words, you won't need one of these
calculators for any of the courses mentioned above unless the classroom
teacher specifically requires it. The major difference between these
calculators and the TI-83 Plus is that the newer versions are faster and have
more memory. Frankly, you'll hardly notice the speed in doing the work required in these courses.
They also have more applications loaded, but you can download

**What is Available and at What Cost:
**I remind students that used calculators are sometimes available from pawn
shops for considerably reduced prices. Recently, for some reason, the
prices at pawn shops have take a big jump. The TI-83 Plus should be available
for no more than $35. If the shop owner wants to charge you
more, remind him/her that there are three newer versions of that calculator.
I am not endorsing pawn shop operating methods; I'm merely reporting what their
prices might be. Whether or not you want to
patronize them is, of course, entirely up to you.
For students at the Gill Campus, I'll upgrade your TI-83 Plus operating system if
it's older than 1.15.
Also, you probably won't get an instruction book from a pawn shop, but anyone
can print my "Brief User's Guide" from this Website for free.

See the chart on the HOTSTUFF page.

** Other Calculators:
Casio FX-9750G Plus**: (Cost as of 9/1/06, about
$50.) This calculator has a 128 x 64 pixel screen. (For comparison
the TI-83 Plus has 94 x 62.). This calculator has inequality shading,
histograms, scatter plots, box & whisker, 36 lists, one- and two-variable
statistics, sample z and t tests, chi-squared, ANOVA, F tests, z and t interval,
and other statistics capabilities. It also has about all of the financial
capabilities that you'll need for the any of the courses mentioned above.
This calculator IS NOT electronically upgradeable. As for programmability, this
calculator has "Interactive Equation Solver." Remember, that you are
likely to find teachers here who are not familiar with how to use this
calculator.

**Casio FX-9860G Plus**: (Cost as of 9/1/06,
about $80.) This calculator also has a 128 x 64 pixel screen. (For
comparison the TI-83 Plus has 94 x 62.). This calculator has all of the
features of the FX-9750 Plus mentioned above and it IS electronically
upgradeable. It also has some added features such as spreadsheet
capability. As for programmability, this calculator has "Interactive
Equation Solver." You might want to make sure that your teacher is
able and willing to help you with a Casio before you buy one.

**Durabrand "Graphing"
Calculators** (I believe this is a Wal-Mart Brand):

I recently saw a
Durabrand at Wal-Mart for $19.95? Here's what little preliminary
information I have on it. (Please read the DISCLAIMER at the start of
these FAQs).

__ PROS:__ * Has a 50-key keyboard that appears to
be fairly well arranged except, possibly for the SHIFT key.

* Has fraction and Ans keys.

* Has sufficient memories for most any purpose - 26.

* Has about any of the standard algebraic and trig functions that you would want - including one- and two-variable

statistics.

* Algebraic entry of formulas.

* Easily obtained battery - CR2032. This is the same as the battery used for the memory in some other calculators.

* Has some limited programming ability.

screen G-T display is 50 x 46.

* As far as I can see, there is no key that is the equivalent of the ENTRY function on the TI-83 Plus. This is very useful when you need to use

a long expression and only edit a number or maybe two.

* Programming is limited to 400 steps divided among ten pre-designated programs. Gamers, forget about it.

Revised: 10/1/06