A calculator, especially a graphing calculator, is a very useful tool in evaluating algebraic expressions. A graphing calculator follows the order of operations, PEMDAS. In this section, we will explain two ways of evaluating expressions with a graphing calculator.
Method #1 This method is the direct input method. After substituting all values for the variables, you type in the expression, symbol for symbol, into your calculator.
The potential error here is that you may forget a sign or a set of parentheses, especially if the expression is long or complicated. Make sure you check your input before writing your answer. An alternative is to type in the expression in appropriate chunks – do one set of parentheses, then another, and so on.
Method #2 This method uses the STORE function of the Texas Instrument graphing calculators, such as the TI-83, TI-84, or TI-84 Plus.
Note: On graphing calculators there is a difference between the minus sign and the negative sign. When we stored the value negative three, we needed to use the negative sign, which is to the left of the [ENTER] button on the calculator. On the other hand, to perform the subtraction operation in the expression we used the minus sign. The minus sign is right above the plus sign on the right.
You can also use a graphing calculator to evaluate expressions with more than one variable.
Sample explanations for some of the practice exercises below are available by viewing the following video. Note that there is not always a match between the number of the practice exercise in the video and the number of the practice exercise listed in the following exercise set. However, the practice exercise is the same in both. CK-12 Basic Algebra: Order of Operations (14:23)
In 1-5, evaluate each expression using a graphing calculator.
x2+2x−xy when x=250 and y=−120
(xy−y4)2 when x=0.02 and y=−0.025
x+y−zxy+yz+xz when x=12, y=32, and z=−1
(x+y)24x2−y2 when x=3 and y=−5d
- The formula to find the volume of a spherical object (like a ball) is V=43(π)r3, where r= the radius of the sphere. Determine the volume for a grapefruit with a radius of 9 cm.
In 6-9, insert parentheses in each expression to make a true equation.
- Let x=−1. Find the value of −9x+2.
- The area of a trapezoid is given by the equation A=h2(a+b). Find the area of a trapezoid with bases a=10 cm,b=15 cm, and height h=8 cm.
- The area of a circle is given by the formula A=πr2. Find the area of a circle with radius r=17 inches.