My son is entering 8th grade and he needs a calculator. I have taken the TI my wife bought him and returned it in order to start him off with an HP. What is the best newer HP calculator that comes in around $40?
Please let me know your thoughts.
Best Newer HP Calculator under $40


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07162008, 03:46 PM
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07162008, 03:53 PM
Hp 33 or 35s. They can be programmed to do almost anything and are RPN and algebraic. ▼
07162008, 04:01 PM
I really like the 35s but the cost is around $60. The 33s I have read some reviews on the HP website and they are not that good.
07162008, 04:21 PM
Jeff, I know I'll catch hedouble toothpicks for this, but here is my recommendation, as an 8th grade math teacher:
07162008, 04:36 PM
Hi Jeff
My son (who was in 8th grade last year) did very will with his 33s. ▼
07162008, 05:47 PM
HP currently offers only two scientific calculators (as opposed to more expensive "graphing" calculators): the 33S (about $40) and the 35S (about $60). So those are your only choices. Older scientific models, such as the 11C or the 32SII, are still available used, but they usually sell for hundreds of dollars. The 35S is a newer model; it is based on the 33S, but with several improvements (notably appearance). But you'll have to spend about $60 for it. The 33S is an older model, with similar capabilities to the the 35S. The 33S will likely be discontinued soon in favor of the newer 35S, which is probably why it sells at a lower price (about $40). Early units had some bugs and display problems, but I believe these were addressed and should not affect the units on sale today. The 33S is widely reviled because it is unusually ugly, but if you look beyond the cosmetics, it can do almost everything that the 35S can do. The 35S is superior if you do lots of programming, and is better at handling complex numbers, but it's unlikely that an 8th grader will be very concerned with these things. If your son is anything like mine (or like me at that age), the calculator will probably be subject to abuse. So you might as well start him with a 33S, since it is ugly to begin with and you won't feel bad when it gets banged up.
Edited: 17 July 2008, 12:52 p.m. after one or more responses were posted ▼
07162008, 07:33 PM
As an owner of several models, including the 15C, 32sii, 33s, and the newer 35s, I have to say that the 33s  reviled as it is  does offer some interesting advantages over the buggy 35s. The biggest disadvantage is the limitation in storage registers. First of all, e^x and LN are directly accessible from the keyboard. Also, STO is not a secondary function. All in all, despite the chevron design and the small ENTER key, it has an overall better keyboard layout IMHO. Secondly, it is surprisingly faster than the 35s for many operations, primarily SOLVE and Integration. If you can look beyond the chevron keyboard (quite easy to get accustomed to) you will find that this is a very capable calculator, and with 32 KB of RAM, it is what the otherwise fantastic 32sii should have been. My favorite is still the 15C! JeffK ▼
07172008, 12:38 AM
I have several 33s and 35s calculators. I find myself using the 33s more because of the key layout and slightly better key feel in my opinion. The latter is really subtle though. I have been boning up on the programing and the 33s can have highly complex programs when using flags, indirect addressing and some of the other tricks. The equation writer is irritating in that equations need to wiped out to be edited. Problem with the 35s is, if you hit the delete on an equation it takes out the whole thing (as opposed to the arrow keys)... so watch what you are doing. You can't really go wrong with either one. Teaching your son at an early age the ability of programing and logic will be invaluable in the future if he has the desire to learn. ▼
07172008, 09:53 AM
If you are viewing an equation on the 35s and press backarrow / delete, you can recover the entire equation if the VERY NEXT thing you do is press yellow shift UNDO. It will pull the equation back. Press anything else before doing that and it is really gone.
07192008, 01:57 AM
Quote:There are two big disadvantages of the 33s for users who want to write and store programs. One is the limitation in the number of storage registers as you say. The other is the limitation in the number of labels, particularly when direct addressing for jumps is not available. The 35s design removes both of those limitations.
07172008, 08:22 AM
The fraction mode on the newer HPs is the real deal for the school kids, indeed. My son, 12, has recently discovered that HP 35 is so much easier to use for fractions than his Casio FX83ES, all with Casio's childfriendly "natural" display, although we both initially thought it wouldn't be. Entering "2 1/3" took him quite a number keystrokes on the fiddly "natural" Casio, where on the 35s it was a matter of "2.1.3", job done.
07172008, 08:18 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I purchased a 33s last eve. for my son. I am sure he will use it wisely. ▼
07172008, 12:19 PM
Jeff, your son will undoubtedly do fine with the HP. Keep in mind, however, that the HP is designed as an engineer's calculator, and the TI is designed specifically for middle school kids. Compare the fraction display of the HP and the TI. The TI display looks like what kids will see in their textbooks. The TI can also convert easily between mixed numbers and improper fractions, and it can simplify fractions one step at a time, which the HP cannot do. ▼
07172008, 12:24 PM
I have to admit that that TI MultiView calculator Don recommended is also pretty interesting. I have yet to buy one (I get hives when I think of owning a TI, so I can never bring myself to pay for one), but I did play with one at Fry's for 30 minutes, and it was indeed pretty cool. Some really sweet ideas in that calc. And it is CHEAP. Other than that, go for HP all the way! ;)
thanks,
07172008, 01:04 PM
Quote: Students in grade school should be simplifying fractions, etc, without the use of calculators. They should be learning math, not how to manipulate a calculator. ▼
07172008, 04:35 PM
Hello!
Quote: Yes, indeed. And solve equations analytically and not numerically using some mysterious solver. You don't need math classes if they only teach you how to push buttons. Greetings, Max
07172008, 04:36 PM
I agree that kids today have had it much easier than we did. It is pretty important to understand how to calculate math without a calculator. But I too suffer from the "get the hives from thinking about buying a TI". I am sure he will be fine with the calculator and will actually be able to convert to RPN eventually:) ▼
07202008, 10:16 PM
Quote:Why did your wife buy the TI? Was it because she doesn't suffer from sort of cultlike aversion to the TI product line?
07182008, 02:40 AM
Regarding the use of calculators in the public school classrooms, we have had this conversation several times before in this forum. Those who bemoan the use of calculators by students are usually pretty misinformed about what actually transpires in the middle school math classroom; I just don’t think they have spent much time there, and that’s a pity because every parent should take an interest in their child’s education. I believe that there are some serious problems with public education today, at least as currently practiced in the United States. However, use of calculators in math classes is not one of them. As a middle school math teacher for the past two years, my experience tells me that these are some of the real problems:
These are only a few of the real problems facing our education system today. Use of calculators does not even make the list. Many math teachers, especially older teachers, do not use calculators in their classrooms, not because they think it is inadvisable but because they do not understand calculators themselves and therefore cannot show their students how to use them. And, contrary to some sentiments expressed in this forum, I think this does a disservice to the kids. They will become adults and live in a world full of technology, and calculators are part of that world. Today, of course, almost all kids (and adults) can use a standard fourfunction calculator; that is part of the real world and they will be expected to have at least that knowledge when they end up in the work place. Most teachers who do let students use calculators, myself included, teach how to apply math concepts with pencil and paper first and expect students to learn how to apply those concepts without calculators prior to letting them use calculators. The reason is simple. Once a student shows me he/she can multiply 177 by 104.5 without a calculator, then I let them use a calculator (for that purpose) so that we can move on to higherlevel concepts. I teach my algebra students how to use the quadratic equation with pencil and paper before I show them how a calculator can help automate that process. I think that that is responsible and students benefit from it. The public school teacher today has to compete for the student’s attention with cell phones, Ipods, Iphones, electronic games, digital cameras, the list goes on and on and new electronic gizmos are added every day (when I was a kid, TV was something relatively new). Kids today are surrounded by and fascinated by electrons. If I can use a calculator (or any tool) to help a kid understand and use a math concept, and just maybe take an interest in the concept, you’d better believe I’m going to do it. I want my kids to understand the concepts and be prepared for the world they will face in a few years, and I will use whatever tool I think is appropriate to that end. Those who bemoan the use of calculators in math classrooms should actually spend some time there. They might learn something. ▼
07212008, 08:22 PM
Don, Thanks as always for your perspective. I did learn something. After reading your post, I looked up the "stemandleaf plots" That may have been covered back when I was in school, but it is completely useless in the real world.. how worthless is that to waste our valuable class room time on such a beast!
I am reading a book now called Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do to Get It Back. You clearly know how to enrich the needlessly dry stateexam driven math education process. I wish all teachers had the same passion. Regarding the demise of realworld problems.. I know what you mean.... I am trying to convince my wife that Engineering in Practice is less about math and more about making good assumptions based on sound learned judgment. For example I still remember a quiz from college asking how many rain drops it would take to pile 2 cm of standing water onto our Engineering building. Obviously there exists more than one right answer, but the teacher was looking for the assumption models. I was driving recently and asked my family how much this huge pile of dirt weighs near the road. With no calculators(!), we talked through a solution to a rough 250 ton guess. That kind of estimation is a lost art.. Especially when it comes to knowing when to round and truncate numbers for the sake of brevity. Oh the days....
edited per Don's comment below. Most Math teachers have NO math education. Edited: 21 July 2008, 9:13 p.m. after one or more responses were posted ▼
07212008, 09:08 PM
Quote: I assume you meant "have no formal education in a Math Field." That does not surprize me. Face it, if you graduate from college with a degree in Mathematics, you can make much more money by not becoming a teacher. I really think we need more programs to get real engineers and mathematicians into the classrooms to teach our kids about real things. I know some companies, like IBM I believe, have (or had) such programs. Remember problems like this: Two bicyclists are 10 miles apart and are headed for each other at 15 mph each. A fly takes off from one handlebar and flies to the other handlebar, then goes back, then goes to the other one again, over and over. How many trips will the fly make (or how many miles will the fly fly)? Guess what? KIDS COULDN'T CARE LESS! And if we expect them to care, we will be severely disappointed. This past year, I tried to give my 8th graders real world problems. You go into a store to buy a DVD player, and the one you like is listed as $49.99, but there is a 10% discount. Sales tax in your state is 6%. How much will you pay? Most of my 8th graders had trouble getting the correct answer. This is pitiful, and we teachers need to find ways to do better. I worked in the computer field for 28 years, programming, doing systems analysis, writing proposals, responding to proposals, managing software projects, testing software and quality assurance, doing Y2K analysis, consulting, and so on. And now I am a teacher. Being a teacher isby farthe toughest job I have ever had. The challenge is great, and the stakes are more important than we can imagine. ▼
07212008, 09:15 PM
Quote:You are right. I corrected my post to reflect that the majority of math teachers have no math training. Indeed.. the Time (future) value of people can't be solved for. ▼
07222008, 12:05 AM
It appears that the simple art of making change is lost to automated registers. My niece had a bill ending in .38 and gave the clerk a quarter a dime and three pennies. The clerk looked stunned and clearly didn't know what to do. Maybe we should teach at that level. Dad clerked in a store before cash registers and did mental math routinely. He could do problems in his head I couldn't do with pencil and paper. He used multiplication by the nearest round numbers and added the corrective terms. he taught me the method of solving intractable problems by succesive approximations. When the HP 65 was new I used this method to explore curve matching of design curves using novel means rather than regression. I was able to match thermistor resistance curves by using natural log and 3 constants for each type. (to 0.01C over a 20 degree range) Dad went to university at 16 and was a civil enginer for the highway dept. Sam ▼
07222008, 02:37 AM
Hi, Sam 
Quote: This topic arose several years ago  http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgisys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv016.cgi?read=94828#94828  KS
07222008, 12:03 AM
Quote:Here's a personal example about the use of good assumptions. I was in the hospital recovering after major intestinal surgery. In such cases the hospital monitors fluid input and output. The gastroenterologist looked at the data and concluded that it would be necessary to make a large increase in the the rate of intravenous feeding since I was losing a massive amount of fluid. I thought about that and concluded that something was wrong with the data since if the number of liters he said I was losing was really true then I should be having a massive weight loss  and I wasn't. I tried in vain to explain to the specialist. Fortunately, my internist had received a engineering degree and practiced engineering for several years before entering medical school. I explained my reasoning to him. He immediately understood what I was saying, found the problem with the data, and returned the fluid input to normal levels.
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07222008, 01:57 AM
<Remember problems like this: Two bicyclists are 10 miles apart and are headed for each other at 15 mph each. A fly takes off from one handlebar and flies to the other handlebar, then goes back, then goes to the other one again, over and over. How many trips will the fly make (or how many miles will the fly fly)? > ▼
07232008, 10:19 AM
Yes, in order to calculate how many miles the fly travels we need to know it's rate of flight. Since the 2 bikers are 15 miles apart and approaching each other at 20 miles per hour total, the trip for them will end in 3/4 of an hour in a mess with wheels rolling away. On the other hand if you want to know how many trips the fly will make then as long as it can travel faster then one of the bikes (speed greater than 10miles per hour) the answer is known ... an infinite number of trips. 