Saxon recommends the use of a calculator at the start of the Algebra series. By the time a student enters Algebra, they should have enough computational skills under their belt. The time it takes to do a lesson will increase once they begin Algebra, so we’d like to see them spend the majority of their time practicing their new algebra skills. However, access to a calculator should only be granted once the student’s computational skills are already in place.
Scientific vs Graphing Calculator? Here are the differences:
- A scientific calculator performs functions beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. A scientific calculator usually has special buttons for things like exponents, pi and trigonometric functions.
- A graphing calculator is a scientific calculator plus more. It has a larger screen that allows you to type in a function, then see a graph of it.
Scientific calculators are sufficient for SAT and ACT testing. However, if you’re student plans to take Saxon Advanced Math or any AP testing, they will need a graphing calculator.
There’s a lot of calculators out there and it can be overwhelming to pick one. Below you’ll find the ones I recommend. You will also find links to the complete lists of acceptable calculators for the SAT and the ACT. (Disclosure: Nicole the Math Lady, Inc. is a part of the Amazon Affiliate program. By purchasing through these links, Nicole the Math Lady, Inc. may earn a small commission.)
- Best Overall ($$$) – TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator (Fully rechargeable. Not allowed in the ACT)
- Most Popular ($$) – Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphics Calculator
Best Scientific Calculators
- Texas Instruments ($) – TI-34 Multiview Scientific Calculator
- Casio ($) – Casio fx-115ES PLUS Scientific Calculator
Complete List for SAT and ACT