Unit 3: Locating Existing Concept Activities for the Nspire
Back to course outline: Better Understanding of Mathematical Concepts through the Graphing Calculator
Objective: By the end of Unit 3, you should be able to locate and alter existing graphing calculator concept activities to use in lessons.
In the previous unit, you thought about a unit of study that your students have struggled with. Now you will locate existing activities through the Internet for the Nspire. There are many great activities that TI and other educators have already created. You do not have to create everything from scratch especially when you are first starting to incorporate the Nspire into your lessons. The activities range from 5 minutes to 1 ½ hours, so make sure you check the estimated time to complete when you consider the different activities.
Here is an example of an activity found on the Internet. It is called "Variables on Both Sides." It is used to help students discover that a linear equation with one variable can have 0, 1, or infinitely many solutions. Students drag points on number lines to discover when both sides of the equation are true. Below are some snap shots of the activity:
The entire activity can be found at the following website. The website includes links to the tns file (this is what files that are created for the Nspire are called) and activity worksheet. []
Tips for Selecting Activities
As you search the links below, keep the following in mind:
- Be selective when looking at activities. Only consider activities that target your learning objectives for that lesson or unit.
- Select activities that you think will increase your students’ understanding of the concept based on the research you read in Unit 2. Don’t pick an activity just because it seems fun.
- Remember you can always alter an activity by downloading the worksheet as a Microsoft Word document and downloading the tns file on to your computer to open and change. This might be helpful if you find a good activity that is too long for your class period or just needs to be changed to better fit your students’ needs.
- Do you want each student to complete the activity on their own, in pairs, or as a class? If you have an Interactive Whiteboard or projector in your room, you will find it helpful to project the TI-CAS Teacher Edition Software with Nspire emulator on the screen so that the students can follow along as they use their own calculators. Or, if you are short on time, you can complete activities together on the screen.
Links to Help Locate Activities
TI has a few different ways to locate activities. The first link allows you to view activities created by other math teachers like yourself! The second link allows you to find your textbook and then search activities that are correlated with a particular section in the textbook. The third link brings you to activities created by TI; these activities are grouped by curriculum and topic. As you search for an activity, try using all three links. You may find similar activities on each, but most likely you will find more activities to choose from!
Activities Created By Educators
This link helps you locate activities made by other educators like yourself. When you go to the website, [], make sure you fill in the following drop down boxes:
- Technology: TI Nspire
- Subject: Math
- Subject Area: Algebra (You may select a different one if you are teaching another course)
- Topic: Think about what kind of topics your students struggle with or you want to improve upon and search for it.
Activities Connected to Textbook Sections
The link below helps you find activities that have been created by TI and other educators that can be used with your textbook. Not all textbooks can be found and some textbooks are better correlated than others. If you use a Holt, McDougal, or Holt-McDougal textbook, you will find this website below to be especially helpful:
- Click on the link []
- Select the publisher of your textbook.
- Navigate the website to find your textbook.
- If your textbook publisher is Holt McDougal, you will see a variety of textbooks. Click on the one that is yours and then scroll through the list of chapters and sections to find the one you want. Once you find the section you want, you can click on the link and find many activities that can be used with that section.
- The other textbook publishers' links are not as user friendly so you might not want to search those.
Activities Created By TI
The link below helps you locate activities that have been created by TI. []
- You will need to sign up for an account by clicking on “Sign In” and then “Create an Account.” The account is free and easy to set up. You must provide a working email account.
- Once you are signed in, you can access activities from the different curriculums include Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Calculus.
- Within each curriculum, there are topics. For example, in Algebra 1 you can choose from Equations, Linear Inequalities, Quadratic Functions, etc. Select a topic to find Nspire activities.
- A list of activities will appear including videos so that you can watch the activities before choosing to download it to use in your own classroom.
After you have located an activity, write a lesson plan incorporating the activity. Remember that you can alter the activity if necessary. The activity might be the majority of the lesson or it could be used as an opening or closing activity. Make sure you pay close attention to the suggested time that is needed to complete the activity. Also, remember that this is your first time creating a lesson with a Nspire activity so the activity might take a little longer than the suggested time.
Exchange your lessons electronically including links to download the Nspire files (tns files) and/or worksheets.
After partners have reviewed the other’s lessons, discuss the lessons considering the following questions:
1) Does the Nspire activity help to reach the objective of the lesson?
2) Do you think the Nspire activity will help students better understand the concepts in the lesson as opposed to other methods?
3) Does the lesson use the activity in a way that is best? Are the students working individually, in pairs, or is it whole class instruction?
4) Will the lesson, including the activity, be able to be completed in the class period?
Back to the course outline: Better Understanding of Mathematical Concepts through the Graphing Calculator