Math 157 Calculator Skills
GRCC’s Mathematics Division has decided that all sections of Math 157 will require students to use
graphing calculators. In particular, the following basic set of calculator skills should be taught to all
students in this course:
1. numerical differentiation of a function
2. numerical integration of a function
3. how to use the natural exponential and natural logarithm functions
You can also expect that student enrolled in this class will already have the following relevant skills from
their Math 156 class:
1. Graph a function
2. Change a viewing window
3. Generate a table from a function
4. Input data in L1, L2 lists
5. Generate a scatterplot
6. Perform a linear regression
7. Perform an exponential regression
8. Use common logarithms and exponential functions
The textbook for this class includes instructions for how to do many of these things on a TI-84 graphing
calculator. The Mathematics Division has also created booklets for students for several other models of
You should encourage any students who are unfamiliar with the graphing calculators to attend one of
the Graphing Calculator Workshops that are run by Adrienne Palmer in the Math Learning Center during
the first few weeks of the quarter.
Note that some of the skills that are described above for teaching in Math 157 – numerical
differentiation and integration – are meant primarily as a means for students to check their answers and
to explore some ideas of calculus before techniques for doing things by hand are taught in the class.
These calculator skills are not meant to replace the skills of doing basic calculus by hand.
Some of the skills listed above that are covered in Math 156 are not directly related to the material in
Math 157 – for example, linear and exponential regressions aren’t required for the study of calculus.
However, students should already be familiar with those operations, and that means you can make use
of them to develop interesting application problems that deal with real-world data.