In today’s time, there are currently about 7000 spoken languages known around the world, but one language is universal and is understood by all—known to be the language of numbers.
One is one to you, to me, and to everyone else in all different parts of the world. And that is truly something peculiar yet phenomenal to contemplate on.
Now, have you ever imagined how the subject Math would’ve been like without something so simple as the calculator? It does seem quite impossible, right? Especially for advanced Math subjects like Algebra, Calculus, so on and so forth. We have prepared a list of the best calculators for math teachers to make their daily life a bit easier.
Honestly, I think that not many would not have been able to survive math classes without a calculator, including me. But thankfully they were invented and they’re now widely used by all people including Math teachers.
Mathematics is indeed a complex subject that requires accurate solving skills explained in an efficient yet simple manner for students to be able to grasp the essence of the said subject. Of course, math teachers are more than capable of solving various equations but sometimes the process is very time-consuming especially if you were to solve an equation on the spot.
This is why having a reliable and accurate calculator is a must for a math teacher to always keep at an arm’s reach whenever a class is to take place.
From performing basic arithmetics to complex equations, we’re going to dive into some of the best in the business that a math teacher can rely on. `
But before we fully get into the details, let’s talk about how the calculator came to be and how you’ll be able to choose the right calculator for you.
**Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links below, meaning that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
<<<In a hurry? Take a peek at our top 3 calculators, the editor’s choice.
Editor’s choice # 1
- CASIO’s most advanced scientific calculator with a Natural Textbook Display
- One of the most popular for teaching Algebra, Chemistry, and Engineering classes
- Can quickly convert fractions and equations into decimal and vice-versa
- Powered by solar power but carries a battery backup supply for reliable use
The Evolution of Calculators: How The Calculator Came To Be
It can be overwhelming to think that the speed of technological changes is so vast and widely seen everywhere today in our society that it sometimes makes you think, how did it all come to be?
And one of the best contraptions that technology has brought to us is the calculator, it might be underappreciated most of the time but this humble device made our lives so much easier without us even knowing it.
It takes away all the time-consuming equations from our hands with just a few clicks and taps here and there on its buttons.
The Abacus (2500 B.C.) – the first known calculator started in one of the oldest and culturally rich civilizations in the world, the Sumerians created the first rendition of the device called Abacus which was quite helpful in solving Addition and Subtraction problems making the process much faster and more accurate as well.
The Abacus is a hand-operated device that is made out of wood along with beads and rods, where each bead represents a unit to be used for adding and subtracting. It was then widely used for another 3,600 years or so until the first-ever mechanical calculator was introduced in Europe.
Editor’s choice # 2
HP 35s Scientific Calculator
- Designed with a wide 2-line screen display with a fully adjustable contrast
- Ideal calculator for teaching science and math, including engineering, and surveying
- With RPN or Algebraic Entry to provide mathematical expression without the brackets
- Has 30kb memory making it among the most powerful calculators for math teachers
Napier’s Bones (1617) – The Abacus was indeed an extremely helpful device in terms of addition and subtraction, but it did lack the function of multiplication and division which then led to the invention of the next significant device that helped technology to flourish—Napier’s Bones.
After the Abacus, the Scottish Mathematician known as John Napier invented a device that performed calculations with rods, which is the machine that consisted of thin rods along with ciphered multiplication tables.
But even though it greatly helped with solving multiplication, it was not considered as a true calculator for it was only assisting its user with mental calculations.
Pascal Calculator (1642) – Considered to be the first-ever true calculator for its ability to perform calculations assisted by a clock-work type mechanism, French Inventor/Mathematician names Blaise Pascal brought forth the Pascal Calculator into the world.
Although Pascal’s invention was indeed remarkable, it was deemed inapplicable as it was a challenge to produce and only a few were able to be made.
Arithmometer (1820) – Patented by Thomas De Colmar in France and manufactured between 1851-1915, it became the first mechanical calculator that was commercially successful because of its ease of use and it was also easy to produce, not to mention it was also incredibly reliable and accurate as well.
Its debut started with the launch of the mechanical calculator industry which also played a key role in leading the handheld calculators in our hands today.
Curta (1945) – The first handheld calculator developed by Curt Herzstark and produced in masses was a descendant of the Stepped Reckoner and the Arithmometer. It contained logs that were complemented by a stepped drum mechanism. It was compact and portable so that it can easily fit the palm of your hands.
1970’s – digital pocket-sized calculators were then introduced from Japan, ceased the need for mechanical calculators. It was then later on adopted by companies in the U.S. and even developed into what we know as graphing calculators today.
From the Abacus to the pocket-sized calculator, all the way to the calculators infused in our smartphones today, calculators have truly been the key to convenience and advancement that we all get to enjoy today.
Without calculators, we would surely encounter laborious and time-consuming calculations but thanks to this underrated device, we have it so much easier than before.
Scientific calculators vs. Graphing calculators
There are four types of calculators that are most commonly used for schools, and these are the basic calculators performing the basics of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, and then after that, you also have the business calculators doing the same things but with added features for interest rates.
And then after these two, you have the Scientific calculator that can greatly help with subjects in chemistry, physics, and engineering, as well as trigonometry problems preferably for high school grade level subjects and above.
Editor’s choice # 3
SHARP EL501X2BWH SCIENTIFIC CALCULATOR
- Engineered with a 1-line LCD display that displays a maximum of 10 digits figures
- Designed for general math and science, pre-algebra, algebra, and trigonometry
- Have over 130 scientific and math functions for advanced math subjects
- With an automatic shutdown feature that helps saves energy than an average calculator
And of course, the Graphing calculator, which is just the same as the Scientific calculator but with more functionality plus the ability to graph as well. They can greatly help with integral calculus and other A-level subjects where scientific calculators might come short.
From the wide array of calculators that can help both students and the teacher solve complicated math and scientific problems, the two best options that a math teacher can choose from are between the scientific calculator and a graphing calculator.
So what’s the difference between the two? If you look at the appearance of the two calculators you’ll notice that scientific calculators have a much smaller screen compared to a graphing calculator which has a notably wider screen.
But that’s not the only thing that differs between the two. Compared to graphing calculators, scientific calculators do not have the ability to graph which can be useful for showing a clear display of variables, expressions, equations, and formulas.
Aside from the broader and clearer display in graphing calculators, you also get to solve equations, inequalities in multiple ways. You can also do more advanced statistical calculations and the basic ones as well along with graphing the statistical plots too.
Some Graphing calculators also have a programming option which is very useful for computer science classes, some also come with a screen that is fully colored making you able to see the calculations and equations in a much-defined view.
All in all, if you’re looking for a calculator that offers further functionality compared to a Scientific calculator, then a Graphing calculator is indeed a wise investment to make, but if not, you can settle with a scientific calculator that can accurately perform all the same with merely less function only and the graphing ability.
The answer also really depends on what kind of subject you teach and also the work you do. Graphing calculators are usually the kind of calculator that’s recommended for A-level subjects in Mathematics because of the further functions it can provide.
So if you’re teaching A-level Maths subjects then graphing calculators would be the type of calculator you should focus on. It’s also best if you can go with something that your department currently uses.
Much like with any other type of device, its speed and performance are based on the kind of processor it uses. So the next best thing to look into after you’ve decided as to what kind of calculator you are going to purchase is to check on the processor that the calculator is using.
It’s always best if you can choose a calculator with the fastest processor so that it can always keep up with all computations you require to perform on a daily basis at your job.
All calculators need a battery to operate, some might be solar-powered but scientific and graphing calculators are set to be battery-powered.
But most recent models of calculators are now rechargeable much like how you would normally charge a smartphone, some can last for up to 10 days on a single charge, and that’s pretty convenient because you won’t necessarily have to charge it every now and then like a smartphone.
If you prefer a traditional screen display of calculators, then you’ll have many to choose from and surely they will provide you with the same monochrome display that is clear and evident. But you can also opt for a colored screen, which is usually found in premium graphing calculators, to give you a much better display of all the computations you’re planning to do with it.
After taking in some considerations, it will all still boil down to the cost and personal preference as they all essentially do the same thing.
It is a fact that Graphing calculators are indeed on the expensive side, but if you can indulge yourself with spending that amount of money, and if you find that it can indeed be useful for you and your line of work, then think of it as a worthy investment.
Still, you can always go for mid-range units that you know will still provide you with the same requirements you need for your line of work.
<<Did you know that math manipulatives can help? Don’t miss the best manipulatives!
5 Best Calculators For Math Teachers of 2021
1.) FX-115ESPLUS Casio
One of the most popular, and personally my favorite calculator brands to use is Casio. There are many types of calculators that Casio has to offer, ranging from simple calculators to graphing calculators but if you are to pick a calculator that will help you in your work for the long run while taking care of all the tedious calculations then FX-115ESPLUS Casio is the one for you.
This calculator is best for teachers who are teaching Algebra, Chemistry, and Trigonometry classes as well.
With the FX-115ESPLUS Casio, you can also easily perform fractions equations just by using the fraction function. You also convert it to a decimal form quickly which is very handy because sometimes some questions require a decimal form answer making it very convenient because you can also go back and forth from the fraction form to the decimal form.
The FX-115ESPLUS Casio can also perform the same vice-versa, from a decimal form you just need to enter it on the calculator and simply press the equal button, and it will automatically convert it to a fraction form.
Most users of this calculator also have praised how each and every button of the FX-115ESPLUS Casio is reliable and how it can also work fast without any error occurring which we all know is very critical in math because unlike using a keyboard on a smartphone, a calculator does not have any suggestions to correct what you’ve entered that’s why the accuracy of the buttons is essential for a calculator.
It’s the best calculator that you will ever purchase after a graphing calculator and it’s one of the most recommended models for students needing a reliable device for math subjects for high school grades up to college.
It is a scientific calculator which is slimmer and lighter than most, it has a natural textbook display that you can easily read from. It features 2 modes which you can set up to your preference, this scientific calculator will be able to help math teachers in computing for students’ grades, helping in solving an equation, and many more.
The best part of this scientific calculator is the fact that it consumes solar energy, which means it runs on solar power which you can get from the heat of the sun. You would not have to worry about buying new batteries for it, that is why this calculator is perfect for math teachers who are hoping to use it in the long run.
The only drawback I see from this calculator is that it’s not a graphing calculator, but if you’re not really in need of one, this is the best you can get, especially for its price.
It’s super easy to use and you’ll also have a great experience while using it. It also has a good build and it has a reliable battery life since it is also solar-powered all at a great price too! So please go ahead and do yourself a favor and buy one for yourself, asap!
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2.) Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator
If you are a math teacher that deals with advanced lessons in mathematics, then the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator will be the perfect partner for you in your ventures at work.
It is common knowledge that a graphing calculator is the most expensive type of calculator that you can purchase. That is why do not be alarmed by its price because I can assure you that it will definitely be worth your money.
The Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator has 11 color variants that you can choose from, and it is heavier because of the battery and memory installed in the calculator which is by the way the features that make this calculator worth buying.
From the exterior of the calculator, you’ll see the charging ports from the side of the TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator which is to be the charging port where a light indicator is also found. The light turns orange to tell you that the calculator is still charging and then to a bright green when it’s all charged up and ready for you to use.
It uses a lithium-ion battery which is capable and also powerful that you don’t have to plug in it day after day of using it. You also get two types of cable that come with the purchase which is the charging cable and the transfer cable that you can use to transfer information from one calculator to another given that they are indeed compatible.
And it’s actually convenient, I must say. It’s almost like they’re computers transferring data from one another which is kinda cool, actually. It also comes with a 5-watt wall adapter so you’d have to buy a separate one to use when charging it so you really get a full package with the TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator.
Additionally, the TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator is also accepted for testing like SAT, ACT, and AP making it a really great calculator and credible as well.
It has a full-color, high-resolution display that can be easily read with ease. The graphing calculator already comes with preloaded apps and images that you can access for your reference or for you to use, moreover it has 14 different zoom features.
Its graphing style can be changed, you can choose from the 7 different graphing styles in order to differentiate each graph from one another. You can also easily choose a color for your graph so you will be able to distinguish it from the others.
This is a perfect tool for teaching students how to graph using calculators, there are many written exams that require the usage of graphing calculators so teaching them how to use it will be an advantage if ever your students would want to take up a master’s degree.
There are tons of gorgeous colors to choose from, ranging from hot pink to a pop of teal which is kind of awesome for a calculator to be seen in these colors.
I definitely recommend that you check them out and see if the TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator is the right fit for you!
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3.) HP 35s Scientific Calculator
Tagged as “The Ultimate Scientific Calculator” for mathematics, science, and engineering, another scientific calculator that has been used by many teachers and students alike is the HP 35s Scientific Calculator. Let’s see what this promising calculator is all about!
HP is a brand that manufactures different technologies so it does not come as a surprise that they have also introduced a product line of calculators in their market.
This calculator gives you a wide 2-line screen display where the contrast is adjustable so that you can easily view everything displayed on the screen.
It also has an efficient RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) or familiar Algebraic Entry which is the method to write a mathematical expression without round or square brackets. Also with over 100 built-in functions, you’ll surely love using this calculator for any type of solving activity that you’re going to venture into.
In line with this, their calculator product line has proven to be very useful and some companies have invested in their calculators for their office. The HP 35s Scientific Calculator in particular is one of their standards, unlike the previous calculators on this list it has a memory of 30kb—which is pretty high for a calculator.
You will be able to see your previous entries in the calculator if you wish to, its battery life however is not as long-lasting as the Casio. It lasts approximately 9 months if you were to use it for an hour per day. Nevertheless, it is still a great calculator to use and more affordable than most.
It also features an equation editor which is quite nice because you get to do some minor edit if you’ve accidentally input a wrong number or symbol.
Purchasing the HP 35s Scientific Calculator, you’ll get a CD which is the user guide for the calculator; a leatherette case which is actually nice and impressive because you get a free case to protect it; 2 batteries for the calculator itself; a quick start guide book; and a leaflet for all the service centers where you can bring your calculator just in case you face any difficulties or defects with it.
The HP 35s Scientific Calculator seems kind of old school and is much more like the traditional calculators that we have but it still has its place for being one of the most powerful and best calculators that is loaded with useful features you can find and use as a math teacher.
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4.) Sharp EL501X2BWH Engineering/Scientific Calculator
If you’re looking for a decent yet affordable calculator that can also perform complex arithmetics, then our next entry for this list is just what you’re looking for.
Sharp’s Electronics has proven to be very efficient and the same goes with its product line of calculators. One of the best calculators that they have to offer is the Sharp EL501X2BWH, it is a fully functional scientific calculator that has over 130 scientific and math functions that are perfect for advanced mathematical subjects.
It is a calculator that is battery operated, although it is battery operated, it saves more energy than your average scientific calculator because it has an automatic shut-down feature whenever you are not using the calculator—making it last for years.
It has a 1-line LCD display that can show a maximum of 10 digits. It comes with a hard, transparent cover to protect its buttons and prevent scratches and dings.
Sharp EL501X2BWH is simple to operate and with its large input display, it is easier for it to read because the display is clear and crisp. This calculator would be a great choice if you want something simple with not so many extras because of its price point it’s fairly a good value for your money.
Amazingly, it also has the most intuitive and easy-to-use base conversion you’ll ever see in a calculator. You’ll really appreciate this calculator after using it for some time and you’ll realize that people behind this calculator really put some thought into putting it all together.
The large spaced-out keys in the Sharp EL501X2BWH is also something to love about this calculator because the key layout is not complex and it feels like they were naturally laid out, unlike other calculators where you might need to look twice or make sure that you’re pressing the right button.
Overall, an easy-to-use and functional calculator that will help you solve equations in a short span of time all while not even hurting your pocket.
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5.) CATIGA CS121 – Scientific and Engineering Calculator
Out of all the calculators in this list, the CATIGA CS121 – Scientific and Engineering Calculator is the most budget-friendly that is packed with many features that will surely entice any math teachers who are looking for a good calculator with graphing functions.
CATIGA CS121 is a mix of a scientific, engineering, and graphing calculator making it an all-around calculator, however, if you think of such a calculator it means it would surely be overpriced but luckily it is very affordable making it worth your money.
It has 10 color variants that you can choose from, its LCD display is measured to be 70×70 that is capable of displaying both graphs and functions at the same time. It is equipped with 2 functionalities: basic graphing functions, and standard scientific functions.
Any student or teacher will find this calculator very useful, as it can help them in various subjects such as Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Finance & Business.
CATIGA CS121 is definitely one of those budget calculators that can do a lot more than your average scientific calculator, it is battery-operated so do not expect its long lifespan however you will be able to make the most of it if you were to conserve and use it properly.
It also features a programmable system that promotes students to learn the concepts instead of button memorization which is sometimes what happens. It also offers over 280 functions involving fractions, statistics, linear regressions, complex number calculations, standard deviation, as well as permutations and variable solving.
You’ll also love how detailed and specific the manual is so that you’ll never get lost resolving errors and it also saves you time from googling formula steps which is time-consuming.
Purchasing the CATIGA CS121 – Scientific and Engineering Calculator also comes with a 365-limited warranty if you suddenly have any issues with the calculator itself even after trying to reset it.
Some people say it’s actually a great alternative to the TI-84, so if you’re not yet ready to make that commitment yet, this is a good place for you to start. So if your line of work only requires you to do simple calculations even for trigonometry and calculus, this would be the best fit for you.
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Some people say that using a calculator loses the essence of teaching mathematics, however, the most important thing to take note of is to teach students in a way that they will be able to easily understand.
There are equations that require a long process of solving before deriving an answer, so instead of manually solving it, letting the calculator do the work will be easier for both students and teachers.
Investing in a good calculator will make your life as a math teacher easier and you can impart some knowledge to your students with ease.
Manually computing and solving equations is a good way to teach students but sometimes that process takes too long, making it difficult for students to keep up in understanding the lesson.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article, and I hope you were enlightened and are now confident to choose the right calculator for you and your teaching needs.
Have a good one!