Learners Standards Process Resources Evaluation Student Page Home

Introduction for Teachers

This lesson introduces the student to using the TI-82 calculator. The main focus is to learn how to graph data from some data source. Because students tend to copy one another's work, set up different files or web searches. Have them copy their data on paper and enter it on the calculator. Graph the data given and debug the results. This web exercise uses a document file to set up groups and associated states. Each student is given a letter to associate their name to a data file.



This lesson was designed for an 8th grade math or pre-algebra class. It can be used in 7th or above grades. Social studies questions are also included as enrichment but it could be modified to be used with a science or social studies lesson dealing with graphs.

Students should have paper, graph paper if available, pencil, and should know how to label a graph correctly.



At the end of this lesson, students should be able to graph on the calculator any given set of data. Students will learn how to turn on and off the calculator, clear the memory, clear list 1, 2, 3, etc, adjust the windows setting, sort data, and debug calculator errors. At the end, a student should have produced 2 different graphs accurately representing the assigned data.

Math Standards Addressed

This webquest covers the following (Texas) TAKS objectives:

  • TAKS 8.6
  • TAKS 8.14d

Students will use the internet to collect assigned data, work with a partner in collecting data, read instructions to learn about the calculator, and use critical thinking to analyze data and historical events.



Teachers should insure each student has a working T-82 calculator. Students can work alone or in groups of 2. Create a web page or file that students can access to get their data assignments.

  • Check the following site for groups and states you assign.
    . This is the raw data and can be in any form you choose.
  • This site has population statistics:
  • 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.
  • Have students set the graphing parameters that you prefer.
  • Students will forget where they should put their graphing data. Remind them to use L1 and L2.
  • Use L3 and L4 for the 2nd plot data.
  • Students will loose their graph because they have the wrong Window settings. You will have to modify those parameters in order to see your graph.
  • Students need to learn how to sort their data for other assignments. This exercise should not require sorting.
  • Put the years in L1 and the population into L2. The second state's corresponding data goes into L3 and L4.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 according to the given data and place your name at the top of your paper.

Links are provided to maneuver between the 4 pages in this webquest. The beginning page is called the Student page. It contains the student's instructions for the webquest and is linked to the other pages.

The Resource link lists various calculators and calculator sites. This is where students will learn about the calculator functions.

The Evaluation page list how this assignment is to be graded.

The Teacher page is this page where teacher information is provided..

The teacher should be experienced in using the TI-82 calculator and perform the graphing assignments before assigning this webquest.


Change the source data for different applications. The grading rubric can be changed to suit the teacher's preference. Some web links may get dropped, so other links have been added.


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: Friday, June 16, 2006 9:25 AM