REVIEW: Mastering the TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator: Augmented Intelligence for all 21st Century Students from Triad Math, Inc.

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Growing up, we all heard that we needed to learn math without using a calculator.  The argument was that you wouldn’t be carrying little calculators around with you everywhere you go.  Here it is 2021, and calculators have been on phones for a long time.  Yet, I still have an aversion to letting my children using a calculator. It has been ingrained in me, both as a former student, and a former classroom teacher.  My children are in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, and I have yet to let them use a calculator to even check their work.  Recently, though, I was given the opportunity to review Mastering the TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator: Augmented Intelligence for all 21st Century Students from Triad Math, Inc. and was pleasantly surprised about the content my child was able to learn, even while using a calculator.

I was given access to the online course, as well as the worktext for the course.  This gives me the following for $14.99:

Soft-cover text that is 180 standard sized pages that also contains notes and exercises for each Lesson.  

Online course that contains: 25 Tutorial Videos created by Dr. Del, Quizzes for each of the 25 Lessons, A Learning Management System with a record of student progress and as a forum for student questions.

Through the course, concepts are scaffolded so that skills get increasingly more complex.  The “Table of Contents” shows the concepts in the order they are taught. 

Each lesson is designed so that it has an introduction that describes the concept, as well as walks the user through the steps to solve problems using the TI-30Xa calculator.  The online course contains the information found in the physical copy book, such as the introduction and exercises.  It also contains other components such as the pre and post tests and video lessons.

The pre and post test are, at least to my knowledge, the same questions. The image below shows the first question for the pre and post test for Lesson 11.  As you can see, the questions are the same. 

The other questions in the tests are as well.  This allows the student to see exactly what is required of them and makes the lesson more meaningful. The creators have made it so that if a student misses the question, they are not able to try again, nor are they given the correct answer.  This helps keep students from writing down the answers for the pre-test and using them for the post-test.

The exercise questions are simple and straight forward.  There are none of those questions that come so far from left field that you don’t even know where they came from. 

There are a variety of ways to utilize the work text and online course.  You could choose to work entirely through the online course, or entirely through the work text.  Or you could use a combination of the two, which is what we did.  I allowed my son the freedom to read the introduction and go through the examples.  I then allowed him to work through the first half of the exercises.  If he got them correct, he could move on and finish the page.  However, if he missed any of the exercises, he had to go to the online course and work through the lesson in its entirety. 

I found that my son was motivated by this.  He took his time and tried his best the first time, which meant that he rarely needed to access the online course.  I did work through the online course though, so that I could write a concise review. 

Lesson lengths varied, depending on if he accessed the online course or not.  Usually though, he worked about 10 – 15 minutes on each lesson. During the review period, he was able to work through 14 lessons with mastery.

Overall, this course was a benefit for my son.  While there wasn’t anything flashy about the online program, he didn’t become overwhelmed or struggle.  He gained confidence in using the calculator. (Even if mom still won’t let him during his math lessons.)

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