All calculators are not the same. When you are in elementary school, you may get by paying a few dollars for a calculator with the basic functions such as adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. However, when your child goes into high school expect to pay more, way more.
You may ask What does a graphic calculator does and why would my child need one? The basic function of these calculators is to plot graphs and solve simultaneous equations. They can even solve several equations at a time and can even have 3D graphing. Your child, if he is taking High School Algebra or Geometry, may be required to have one for school. Just remember, if your child’s teacher specifies that he needs a graphic calculator, you have to buy or rent one. Your child’s teacher knows more about his class than you.
Choosing a graphic calculator is a little more difficult than getting a basic or scientific calculator. You have to buy one that is easy for your child to use and understand. A man had bought one for $10.00. Thinking this was a good bargain, he was planning to use it to build a deck for his house. However, this calculator proved worthless because he did not know how to use it. The instructions that came with it were vague. Therefore, it is better to pay more for something that will work.
The best thing in choosing the right graphic calculator is to ask your child’s teacher. He most likely uses a graphic calculator himself. He is a good source of recommendation.
It is best to buy a graphic calculator from a well-known company. The man in the above story had purchased his calculator from a mail order catalog. The brand was from an unknown company. Of the brands out there, Texas Instruments calculators are rated the highest among students and teachers because they are easy to use.
Expect to pay money for a graphic calculator. The amount you pay depends on the type of math your child is going to take in high school. For example, if your child is planning to take Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, a TI-83 would be sufficient if your child is not planning to go any further in Math. However, if your child is planning on taking Math classes all the way through Calculus and taking the calculator with him to college, you may have to purchase a TI-84 or higher.
The one thing you have to check when choosing the Graphic Calculator is which ones are allowed during the SAT and ACT tests. Both the TI-83 and TI-84 are allowed.
Once you have decided which Graphic Calculator is right for your child, you have to know where to shop for one. You can check out http://www.ebay.com or http://www.amazon.com to see if you can find one that is new, cheaper than at your local stores. However, you have to consider the shipping. If you are like many parents with a tight budget, shop early. Take advantage of stores, such as K-Mart, that still offer a lay-away program.
You know what you have to get for you child. These tips make it easier to choose and buy a graphic calculator.