TI-nSpire Activities to Inspire Your Math Students
Type of technology: iPads, nSpire App
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: 7-12
Subject area: Math or Science
Cost: $30 for the iPad app or $140 for nSpire CX handheld calculator
As teachers, we strive to give unique and creative lessons. But sometimes, it’s a relief to have a lesson that is ready to go, especially one that utilizes technology. That is exactly what I found at Texas Instrument’s website: education.ti.com. I used these pre-made lessons in both AP Calculus and Integrated Math 1 with great success. There are also lessons for science.
So here is how to get there: Once on the website click on the tab “Activities”. I selected ‘Math Nspired’ and then selected Statistics for the Integrated Math 1 course and Calculus for the AP Calculus course. Once you select a topic within your course you will see a list of lessons. When you click on the title of the lesson, a list of files appears in the upper right corner of the screen. Right-click on the “.tns” file and copy the link address. You can then paste the address into an assignment on NEO/Edu.
On the day of the lesson, I checked out the iPad cart and had my students download the activity from the “.tns” file I posted on NEO/Edu. (Note: If you have a docking station and the nSpire teacher software on your school computer, you can send the activity to the student’s handhelds.) When the students select the “.tns” file they will have the option to open it in the nSpire app. You also can make copies of the student doc. file to have a handout that will help students through the lesson and record their findings. One thing that is really helpful is that there are many resources that accompany all of the Math Nspired activities. There are PDFs and DOCs of the activities that the students can use to record their findings as well as teacher notes with worked out solutions and helpful hints to help guide the lesson. I would suggest going through the lesson and reading the teacher notes beforehand.
For calculus, I used the topic “Definite Integrals and Applications” and then used the lesson titled MVT for Integrals. This served as a discovery type of lesson for the Mean Value Theorem. In this lesson, students discovered the topic on their own prior to my offering any notes or instruction. This lesson provided a visual/geometric proof of the mean value theorem. Students were able to drag a point on the x-axis to show that the value of a given definite integral was equivalent to the area of a rectangle with height equal to the average value of the function and width equal to the given interval.
For Integrated Math 1, I used a statistics lesson for “Describing Bivariate Data” called Does a Correlation Exist? This was an excellent lesson to give students a visual idea of correlation and whether a line or an exponential function best fits a given set of data. This led to meaningful discussion about residuals and error. After practicing plotting points and drawing a line of best fit by hand, the students were impressed by the ease at which the nSpire completes the same task.
In summary, I plan to use these lessons more. I encourage you to check them out as well. You don’t always have to re-invent the wheel to have a productive and successful lesson.