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Your assignment is to learn how to use a graphing calculator assigned to you. In order to do that, you must learn the location of certain functions and what function those keys provide for you. Your ultimate goal is to become a proficient user of the graphing calculator so that your future assignments will be easier to perform. Your success in using and graphing with the calculator will directly reflect your success in future assignments.

To begin your webquest, use the links provided to guide you to the information you need to perform your assignments.



Today's webquest requires you to work in groups of two people. Each person may use a calculator.

At the end of today's assignment you should be able to:

  • search for assigned data to graph
  • clear the "list 1" and "list 2" data entry fields
  • enter data into list 1 and list 2
  • graph data in list 1 and list 2
  • sort data in list 1 or list 2
  • determine if list data needs to be sorted
  • trouble shoot grafted data
  • adjust the window setting to view the graph
  • reproduce a copy of the calculator graph onto paper.



Complete the following steps in order to complete your assignment.

  1. Collect your assigned calculators.
  2. Get with 1 other student. If you do not have a partner, then ask the teacher to assign you to another group.
  3. Check the following site for your name and the states you are to reference.
  4. Search the internet for state populations for the years from 1800 though 2000. Record this information on paper for later use in your calculator. The United States Census Bureau takes a census count every 10 years. That information is published every 10 years. You can check this site for your state's 10 year population statistics at:
  5. Look at the following site to find a calculator instruction lesson on how to turn on and off your calculator. Learn how to clear all memory from the calculator. (See Resource: Calculator Sites B 9.)
  6. Find out how to turn on the graphing function of the calculator. Set up the graphing option to use a line graph not a bar graph or scatter plot. Use the small dot or period as the graph marker. Do not use the box or plus sign as your marker. (See Resource: Calculator Sites B 9.)
  7. Check your stat plot so that L1 and L2 are being used for your first state's data. (See Resource: Calculator Sites B 9.)
  8. Use L3 and L4 for stat plot 2.
  9. Use your calculator site instruction to learn about the Window key. The default x and y parameters are set to a default of -10, 10, 1 and -10, 10, 1. You will have to modify those parameters in order to see your graph.
  10. Refer to your lesson site for information on how to sort data listed in List 1, 2, 3, etc. (See Resource: Calculator Sites B 9.)
  11. Examine the lesson on entering data into the List Tables. The List Tables are where you will enter the years and populations into the calculator. (See Resource: Calculator Sites B 9.)
  12. Put the first state's years in L1 and the population into L2. The second state's corresponding data goes into L3 and L4.
  13. Graph your data one state at a time. If you get a DIM MISMATCH error, your list data is uneven--the L1 and L2 do not match up--look at the last entry.
  14. Trouble shooting the calculator: No graph appears--check your plot stat - is it on? Are you graphing L1 and L2 or L3 and L4? Do you need to change the window parameters and did you enter your data in the correct list table? Lines cross each other--do you need to sort your data?
  15. Once you have created your graphs, copy them onto paper. Use as much accuracy as you can given the circumstances. You should have 2 graphs. Be sure to label your graphs appropriately accounding to the given data and place your name at the top of your paper.



At the conclusion of this assignment you should have learned how to graph independent and dependent data using the List tables in your calculator. The graphs should be different and each person should have different graphs. You have accomplished a real life example of graphing census data that is done by each state government and the federal government. You might even be able to use this assignment for a social studies project.

As an extension of your assignment, can you explain why your second state's data started around 1840 or 1850 and why does the first state's data start in the year 1790? You may use the internet to find your answers. Write your answer below your graph near the bottom.


These pages were developed through TeacherTECH, the teacher professional development component of GirlTECH, which is sponsored by the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE) and made possible by support from the National Science Foundation and Rice University.

Copyright © 2006 by Benjamin Rutherford
Updated: Thursday, July 6, 2006 11:15 AM