Unit 4: Creating Concept Activities for the Nspire


Back to course outline: Better Understanding of Mathematical Concepts through the Graphing Calculator

Objective: By the end of Unit 4, you should be able to create graphing calculator concept activities to use in lessons.

Sometimes after searching the previous links, you may discover that no activity is exactly what you want. Instead of spending time trying to alter an existing activity, it sometimes might be easier to start from scratch.

Example Activity

An activity that is easy to create is one that changes the coefficients of an equation. For example, below is a snap shot of a simple activity of an absolute value equation (y = a| x + h | + k) in which the students discover how changing the value of a, h, and k affect the graph. The attached worksheet is used with the tns file:Media:Absolute_value_worksheet.pdf

Abs copy.jpg

Lesson Plan

Now, think of a concept that you think would be better understood by your students if you created an activity with the Nspire. If you feel you need more information about the Nspire or CAS Teacher Edition Software, refer to the reference: [[1]]

Create an Nspire activity, and then write a lesson plan that incorporate the activity you created.

Pair & Share

When you have finished, exchange your lesson with a partner 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?


With all new technology and instructional techniques, you will have bumps in the road. When you first implement that Nspire activities into an actual lesson with your students, I suggest you keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you know all the necessary skills to complete the activity with your students.
  • If you get confused during the activity because you can't remember a keystroke or where something is located, don't be afraid to ask your students for help. Your students will learn the Nspire probably more quickly than you so don't be embarrassed if you find yourself asking them for help!
  • Make sure your lesson plan is flexible because even though you think an activity will only take 15 minutes, you might run into small problems or questions that will make the activity take more time. On the other hand, you might plan for the activity to take 15 minutes, but find that the students move quickly through it and finish the activity in 8 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, technology is not perfect: Always have a back up plan. There may be times where batteries run out, the transfer tool doesn't seem to be working right, or the file magically becomes corrupted! Don't give up on any technology simply because of one experience.

End of Course Reflection

1) Do you feel comfortable incorporating the Nspire into your lessons? Explain.

2) Do you feel incorporating the Nspire into your lessons will be beneficial to your students? Explain.

3) Do you feel comfortable locating existing activities online or creating your own Nspire activities?

4) What concepts do you see yourself using the Nspire to help students better understand?

5) What additional skills and/or resources do you wish you had receive in this course to better help you incorporate the Nspire into your lesson plans to improve student understanding?

End of Course

Great work! I hope you are excited and ready to try to incorporate the Nspire into your lesson plans to increase your students' understanding of mathematics. With any technology, there will always be new skills to learn and you will come across questions that did not arise in your work in this course. Remember to visit the website with all the tutorials [[2]] and if you can't figure out the answer to your question through the website, please feel free to email me with any questions that you have: jkrol@fmschools.org. Thanks for participating in the course!

Back to the course outline: Better Understanding of Mathematical Concepts through the Graphing Calculator