Tell students that they will be using a graphing calculator or handheld very often in their math class—so often that it will become a tool with which they think and explore, rather than simply calculate.

Have students read the activity on their own, and then highlight that they are to work with a partner to learn whatever they can about the calculator and, later, to demonstrate something they learned.

Give students time to work on this open-ended activity on their own, free from intervention, for a while. Through this experience, they may come to understand that they can learn about calculators, by trial and error, which will help them feel confident with these tools in the future.

Students should focus on simply learning how their calculator works. If you notice a pair fretting about not learning something in particular, encourage them with a reminder that the goal is to explore the calculator until they discover something new. You might also suggest that they explore a button that looks interesting to them. Or ask them to think of something they frequently do in math class and see if they can figure out how to do it on this calculator.

Encourage students to be thoughtful in their preparations to present. Assure them that their presentations can be simple, such as, “If you press this key, such-and-such happens.” They don’t necessarily have to learn how to accomplish something useful to make the information worth reporting.

Students may want to use manuals to learn how to do a specific activity or to find out what kinds of things the calculator can do. As you circulate, suggest to individual students that they prepare presentations on particular topics.