It’s 8 o’clock at night. Dinner is over. You’re sitting down to watch a movie or Monday Night Football — and then it happens . . . “Mommmmmmmmm (or Daddddddddddd), my calculator isn’t working. I have to turn in my math homework tomorrow, and my graph isn’t showing up.”
“This can’t be so bad”, you think. “I passed high school math. Heck, I even installed the Quicken Accounting System at work. How complicated can a calculator be?”
The last time you looked at your child’s TI-83 or TI-84 was in August at the office superstore; it was in the front of a shopping cart with on top of a pile three ring binders and notebook paper. It didn’t look so bad then, but now you take a closer look and there are all kinds of keys you never saw before on a calculator. At the bottom is something familiar — a normal looking array of number keys, and at the right are the usual add, subtract, multiply, and divide keys. But what the heck are “MODE”, “DEL”, “STAT”, “ZOOM”, “TRACE”, etc. ? What are you going to do? Who ya gonna call?
Here are a couple of really simple things to do; but remember, the title of this article is “Help, My TI-83 / Ti-84 Won’t Graph”, and that is really all that is addressed in this article.
The Graphing Buttons
Look at the top row of buttons on the TI-83/TI-84 calculator. There should be five of them, set apart from the other buttons; and they should have the following labels:
[Y=] [WINDOW] [ZOOM] [TRACE] [GRAPH]
This is where all of your activity is going to take place.
The Three Major Problems
Most of the time when a graph is not displaying, there are three reasons:
- Graph Function.The graph function is not entered properly, or not entered at all.
- Graph Not Turned On. The graph function is entered properly, but graphing is not turned on.
- Viewing Window. The viewing window for the function is set to the wrong size or location.
We will deal with these one at a time.
Check that the Graph Function is Entered Properly
Push the [Y=] key at the top of the calculator. This puts you into the Y= editor screen. You should see a screen that looks something like this:
Plot1 Plot2 Plot3
The expression “2X+1” is just an example, but you need to see some kind of expression in the Y= editor screen, not just a bunch of blank “Y=” lines. If all you see is the following, then you need to add an expression:
Plot1 Plot2 Plot3
If you want to try a really simple expression to make sure that the calculator can plot, use “Y1=X”. This should plot a nice 45 degree line directly through the origin of the graph screen.
Check that the Graph Function is Turned On
It is possible that graphing of the …Read more