(2014) Graphing Calculators for 8th Grade Math – Dana Elliot, Debbie Smith & Jill Tate

As anyone with a child in 1st-8th grade knows, the math curriculum in Texas was revamped for the 2014-2015 school year.  As teachers at the 8th grade level, we knew the kids would be allowed to use TI-84 Plus graphing calculators on the state-mandated STAAR test.  We also knew the more the kids could have access to that calculator, the better off they would be.  What we did not know was how our school would be able to afford that large of a purchase, as each TI-84 Plus calculator is over $100.  Then, due to the amazing generosity of the Wylie Education Foundation, our grant was approved and we were awarded 30 graphing calculators.DanaElliotTestimonial1

This kindhearted gift was utilized this year daily by our students.  They were able to work the much more complicated problems that our new curriculum requires without getting bogged down in all the computation.  As our nation moves toward more science, math, and technology education, our Wylie 8th graders will be ahead of the game.

This grant will not just be used for the 2014-2015 year.  We as 8th grade math teachers made sure the calculators were kept in pristine condition so that we can use them for years to come.  This project (using graphing calculators) will be sustained into the foreseeable future.

DanaElliotTestimonial2Measuring whether our objectives were achieved can be done in different ways.  We will look at our STAAR results when they come in and see if Wylie 8th grade math scores were better than our region and state.  We can also use anecdotal evidence; that is, we can look at how much more critical thinking is happening in our classrooms each day due to students not having to worry about arithmetic and compare it to past years since the 3 of us have taught this grade level a long time.  They love using the calculators and discovering the different graphs that can be generated, and even though we don’t really have to cover parabolas in 8th grade, we love showing them some graphs like those so they can prepare for high school. One favorite of students was figuring compound interest, A = P(1+r)^t,  which is relevant to so many financial decisions they will have in the future.  It would be possible to figure without a calculator, but would probably take all period to do one problem and most definitely would not be a favorite activity.

We would like to offer our utmost thanks to the Wylie Education Foundation for continuing to support Wylie students and teachers.

The Wylie Bulldogs Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Our mission is to collect and distribute gifts to promote excellence in education to students and teachers.