Calculator Boot Camp
I based this idea on something I stole from samjshah. Sam does an algebra boot camp for his calculus students during the first week of school. If you have taught calculus before, you know that the calculus is easy, but most students struggle with the algebra involved in it. I transferred this idea to my Algebra 2 students.
The Algebra 2 standards in TN are overwhelming. After teaching it for 2 years, I found that most of my time was spent teaching students how to use the graphing calculator. My students do not use a graphing calculator in Algebra 1. This is their first exposure to this type of technology. This year, instead of repeating the same steps everyday and getting frustrated, I decided to do a calculator boot camp the first week.
On the second day of school, I give the students this lab on how to graph a function and change the window. It will also address how to utilize the table feature of the TI-84. On day two, students will work on finding zeros on the TI-84 and finding maximums and minimums on a graph. On the third day of the boot camp, students will learn how to input data into a table and find the measures of central tendencies. My plan is to give the students an assessment at the end of boot camp to test their calculator skills. My goal is that students have the basic skills to navigate the calculator and to give them the confidence to explore the calculator on their own. I will post on my success with this after the first week of school.