How to Factor on a TI 84 Plus

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Graphing calculators, such as the TI-84 Plus, are handy tools when it comes to advanced mathematics. With the ability to be programmed, these calculators can be customized to suit the user’s needs – allowing even the most difficult equations to be calculated with a few button presses. Factorization, the process of decomposing a number, matrix, or polynomial into a product, is one of the most common mathematical tasks graphing calculator programs are built to handle. However, programs for factorization specifically do not always come standard on the TI-84 Plus. Even if this is the case for your calculator, you can still factor without a custom program.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

To factor on a TI-84, you can use the Equation Solver function. To access it, press the MATH button on your calculator, then hit the up arrow to scroll directly to the bottom of the list. Press ENTER and input the equation. You can also add a custom program to your calculator to more easily factor polynomials.

  1. Enter Equation Solver

  2. The easiest way to factor on an uncustomized TI-84 Plus is through the Equation Solver mode. To access this mode, first press the MATH button on your calculator, then hit the up arrow button to move the cursor directly to the bottom of the list. Press ENTER to enter Solver Mode. Depending on the age of your TI-84 Plus, the Solver Mode screen may look slightly different, but the feature works identically across the models.

  3. Enter the Equation

  4. After entering Solver Mode, enter the equation equal to zero. You may need to balance the equation slightly on an older model if you do not have the option to enter an E1 and an E2 value. Press the ENTER button after you type in the equation.

  5. Determine the Results

  6. When you see the equation in the Solver Mode screen, press the ALPHA button followed by the ENTER button to solve for X. The initial value visible in Solver Mode is not the answer but is rather a guess that the TI-84 makes. When two black squares appear on the screen, the X value on the calculator screen shows the first answer value. To obtain the second value, enter either 1 or -1 for X, depending on the value of the first value. Press ALPHA followed by ENTER again to see the result.


About the Author

Blake Flournoy is a writer, reporter, and researcher based out of Baltimore, MD. Working independently and alongside professors at Goucher College, they have produced and taught a number of educational programs and workshops for high school and college students in the Baltimore area, finding new ways to connect students to biology, psychology, and statistics. They have never seen Seinfeld and are deathly scared of wasps.