Upgrading to the fx-CG50 from a scientific calculator - Casio Calculators

Upgrading to the fx-CG50 from a scientific calculator

Dec 2022 Medium Read: 4 Min

Compared to scientific calculators, there are many benefits to using the fx-CG50 graphic calculator in the classroom. For one, graphing technology unlocks many additional features and teaching points that deepen students’ understanding of mathematical concepts. Yet, despite this very important benefit, there’s something even more important when upgrading to the fx-CG50: it helps you increase interactivity and spark discussions between students. 

In this article, you’ll read why this is and how you can introduce the fx-CG50 in the classroom. After all, it can be challenging to start teaching with a new device with so many capabilities! 

Visualisation brings maths to life

There are many benefits to upgrading to the fx-CG50. But if we had to name just one, it would be that the fx-CG50 can draw graphs of functions where scientific calculators cannot. Students can easily enter a quadratic on the fx-CG50, and find particular values using the CALC function, and this allows them to say what happens when x has a specific value. See this article for some often-used examples. 

The ability to draw graphs comes with three important benefits:

  1. Faster learning
  2. Active participation
  3. More discussion

Although faster learning is important, we highly value benefits 2 and 3, which are about participation and discussion. Why? The answer is simple. Active participation is what truly motivates students to become more interested in maths. And at the end of the day, that’s what counts.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper. 

Benefit 1. Faster learning

When students can draw their own graphs, this makes it easier for them to comprehend the mathematical problem they’re trying to solve. Instead of having to (passively) look at a whiteboard in front of the class, they can actively draw their own graphs and make changes as they go. This drastically increases their ability to solve mathematical problems as they learn by doing – which is always the best way to learn anything.

Benefit 2. Active participation

Apart from faster learning, letting your students draw graphs of functions themselves also helps you create an active learning environment where students are encouraged to participate and experiment. Students’ attention spans are shorter, so getting them to work will keep them focused for a longer period of time.

Benefit 3. More discussion

Since fx-CG50 allows students to draw function visualisations at their own desks, they get a better idea of the shape of the graphs, which is nice because when they get onto harder functions later, like cubics and quartics, they will be asked to sketch such things. This visualisation promotes a discussion around the shape. Could it be U-shaped? Could it be a quartic, in which case it would be W-shaped? Does it go below the x-axis? Is it smooth between two and three?

Introducing the fx-CG50 in your classroom

Getting students familiar with the main features of the fx-CG50 is crucial to make them feel confident with the handset. fx-CG50 is very easy to use, yet sometimes students can be overwhelmed when their calculator is in the wrong setting for what they’re working on – especially when they don’t see what they’re expecting on the screen.

Therefore we recommend investing time to go through this together, so you can improve how students feel about using their calculators. More importantly, it means they’re less likely to be thrown by something unexpected during their exams.

If you’re introducing fx-CG50 to your students, we recommend taking these six steps below. You can find more information on these steps in this article

  1. Ensure students understand when their calculator is showing the right value
  2. Show students how to use add and subtract for zoom functionality
  3. Check students know how to set a square scale
  4. Get students familiar with the basic calculator settings
  5. Make sure students are familiar with different functions
  6. Remind students about equation mode

Book a free training session

Getting to grips with the calculator’s functionality can seem a lot when you’re first starting. As a teacher, you’re not alone in this journey. Casio provides free skills training sessions to help teachers build confidence using graphic calculators in the classroom. Sign up for your free session here!