You can use a Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus graphing calculator to compute problems and expressions with exponents. An exponent tells a student how many times the base number is multiplied by itself. For example, 2 raised to the second power is 2 x 2, which equals 4. Introduce your students to the basics of entering exponents into the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator, and then move to more challenging expressions.

## Basic Exponents

Practice typing basic exponential expressions involving only one base number. For example, ask your students to input "10 raised to the third power" into their graphing calculator using the TI-84 buttons. To do this correctly, they will type the following sequence:

10^3

The student then will press the "Enter" button, which will return "1000."

## Adding Exponents

Ask your students to compute an expression that adds exponents. Write the following problem on the chalkboard or whiteboard and ask them to input the expression into their graphing calculator. The expression is as follows:

2 raised to the fourth power + 5 raised to the third power

The student will type the following sequence followed by "Enter."

2^4 + 5^3

The screen will return 141.

## Subracting and Adding Exponents with Parentheses

Add a problem that involves parentheses and subtraction. Your students will need to know order of operations (parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, addition/subtraction) to do this problem on their own. The TI-84, however, does the order of operations for them. Write the following problem on the board:

(4 raised to the second power + 3 raised to the second power) - (2 raised to the fourth power)

The student will type into the calculator the following sequence followed by "Enter":

(4^2 + 3^2) - 2^4

The screen will return 9.

## Multiplying and Dividing with Parentheses

Add multiplication and division to the previous problem that you will amend. Write the following problem on the board:

(4 raised to the second power + 3 raised to the second power) X (2 raised to the fourth power) / (10 raised to the second * 2 raised to the third)

The student will type into the calculator the following sequence followed by "Enter":

(4^2 + 3^2) * (2^4) / (10^2*2^3)

The screen will return 0.5.

References

About the Author

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.

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