A Math Student's Best Friend

How to pick the right graphing calculator for your high school number cruncher

One of the stranger items in my house is an eight-foot-long working model of a slide rule rescued from the demolition of a high school. Devices like it once graced thousands of math classrooms. But no more. In today's math class, the slide rule has been replaced by the graphing calculator. And while the slide rule was a mathematical curiosity that few students ever learned to use effectively, the graphing calculator has won a place in every math student's backpack. Entire courses are based on the devices. Their use is encouraged on the SAT and SAT-II college entrance tests and required for the calculus advanced-placement exam.

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