Thursday, April 01, 2010


Wednesday in algebra 1 we were exploring parabolas on the calculator. We're just getting into our groove with the calculators, and I'm slowly trying to introduce more capabilities of it. The question was, "when does the rocket reach 528 feet", and after we'd graphed the equation, I was showing them how they can put y2=528 and then find the intersection with the original rocket equation.

I tell them to press 2nd TRACE (though I always say, 2nd calculate, ... whatever), and go on to show them the intersect capability. Many kids ooh and aah, and move on to the next question.

One girl calls me over, "it doesn't work", and she's all frustrated and pushing 2nd and TRACE over and over. I walk up behind her and ask her to do what she's doing slowly. Then I couldn't help myself, I laughed. She was pushing down on the "2nd" button with all her might and annoyance and holding her finger there in the down position while simultaneously then pushing the TRACE button.

I'd never come across this before, but now that I think about it, why not? Never have I said, "push 2nd and release and THEN push TRACE". Aaaaaaah, good times.


  1. haha...never had that one happen in my class either! I do love when they say 'I need a new calculator- this one doesn't work'. many times does it end up being a user error? :)

  2. That's funny, too .... in fact it happened today (when the values of the graph were originally off the screen) .... so you know the drill: "it didn't work!"

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Ahhh, the Eye Dee Ten Tee error!

  4. "I need a new calculator- this one doesn't work."

    For my classes, more often than not, a previous kid turned down (up?) the "brightness."

    If you have access to a laptop and a projector, using an emulator can make things easier. They can see exactly which buttons you press. To improve visibility you can turn on magnifier (an accessibility accessory) and also enable the mouse "ping" option.

  5. Ackh! The dark/bright trick. Little boogers. You also reminded me of the trick of changing the language.

    Ha! I-D-10-T ...

    Ms. Cookie