Have you ever bet on the wrong horse?
That was what went through my mind as I was looking for an activity for the Hour of Code to play around with today. In a university, a long time ago, I took a statistics class. Some of us in the class had calculators but, for the most part, people didn’t.
Consequently, our professor spent some time talking about calculators and what we really need to do in order to be successful in the course. She was adamant that we should get an RPN calculator rather than an algebraic calculator. I took her advice and bought one. Since then, I’ve always had one or an RPN calculator on my phone. I’ll say one thing about RPN; you learn about stacks and order of operations like nowhere else.
While my calculator served me well, it turns out that the algebraic calculator really took off. A popular choice is the Texas Instruments TI-84 which actually is a whole series of calculators. For the Hour of Code, the TI-84 is the tool in the Poor or No Internet category.
If you and your students have a TI-84, you’re all set. If not, you might want to do a search; there are plenty of online alternatives. In fact, you may have so much fun with the activities, you may want to rush out and buy your own.
Does anyone remember when a calculator added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided only? (Hint, your computer may have one installed)
But, I’m off track. From the Texas Instruments website, there are three entry points to get started. I went into the TI-84 section and the learning is great if you’re ready to do some coding on your calculator.
Consistent with many programming languages, you’re ready to do some coding.
The activities are intriguing.
Confession time – I started with the first activity, and once I realized how intuitive this would be, I jumped right ahead to the Graphics section. My old HP calculator didn’t do graphics.
By the time, I looked up, I had spent way more than an hour on this. While I can imagine everyone having fun with this, I’m thinking secondary school students who have this calculator in their knapsack would eat this up nicely!