TI-92 TechSkills 1: Functions

This TechSkills module explains one of the TI-92's most useful tools, working with a function: evaluation and graphing. We illustrate the desired skills with examples.

Your calculator has mode settings that deal with a variety of formats. To get an appropriate solution you must have the calculator set up properly. Here's how check your settings.

 Turn your TI-92 and press the key. The screen looks something like this. These are standard settings. To change a setting, use the up/down thumb pad to highlight the option you want to change. Press the right cross on the thumb pad to get the option's menu. Select the mode you want by highlighting it, then press . When done, press again to save the mode settings and exit to the home screen.

Note When graphing trigonometric functions, make sure that the calculator is in RADIAN mode and use functional notation; e.g., sin(x).

Evaluating A Function
For example, let's enter the function y=x(x Ð 1)(x + 2) and evaluate it at x=5.

Entering the Function in the Y= Menu

 Press , then Y= (located above the W key). If needed, use the thumb pad to highlight the expression after y1=. Press to edit the expression displayed after y1=. Type in your expression and press . Here, the keystrokes to enter the function are

A Functional Value
We now evaluate the function entered in y1 at a single input value; say, y1(5). First, return to the home screen by pressing and then HOME (located above the Q key).Then simply type in and observe the answer of 140.

A Table of Functional Values
To obtain a table of values, first set up the table through the TblSet menu.

Press and then TblSet (located above the T key).

This lets you control the table entries. We illustrate by building a table of functional values for x = 0, 5, 10, 15, etc. Notice whether the Independent: variable is set to AUTO or ASK. AUTO mode is the appropriate choice if you have several values to find and the inputs are equally spaced along the x-axis.

 Since our example fits these criteria, set the options as shown. The prompt tblStart: asks for the first x-value (here, 0; press ). Use the thumb pad to navigate to the tbl: box. tbl is the interval between x-values in the table (here, 5; press ). Press again to save your settings. Press and then TABLE (located above the Y key). You get a nice table. You can scroll up or down to see more table values.

Graphing a Function
 Now we are ready to graph the equation. Since the function already is entered in the Y= menu, you merely have to tell the TI-92 to plot the graph. Press GRAPH (located above the R key). If the graph is not satisfactory, then adjust the view. There are two common menus for adjusting the view: WINDOW and ZOOM. For example, press to access the Zoom menu. Now press to select 6:ZoomStd. The standard graph window extends from -10 to 10 along both axes. We now zoom in for a closer view. Press to select 2:ZoomIn. If needed, use the arrow keys to place the cursor at the origin, xc:0 and yc:0. The cursor defines the center for a new zoomed-in graph. Press . You now see a better view of the graph action.

Trace
 The trace feature allows you to use the arrow keys to move a pointer along the graph. The x- and y-coordinates of the tracing cursor will appear at the bottom of the screen. To use this feature, from the graph screen press to select Trace. A cursor will appear on the graph. Use the left and right arrow keys to move the cursor along the graph.

Extreme Values of a Function
At times it is important to find the lowest and highest functional values in a given domain. These are called extreme values. The TI-92 can easily display extreme values by going through the Math menu.

 Press to enter the Math menu. Press to select 4:Maximum (or press to select 3:Minimum). The TI-92 needs you to set the bounds for its search. The TI-92 prompts you for a "Lower Bound?" (press ) and an "Upper Bound?" (press ). Note that the upper and lower bounds are numbers between which the x-coordinate of the extreme value lies. An approximation for the local maximum is (-1.21525, 2.11261). Alternatively, you may use the cursor to set the bounds.

Piecewise Defined Functions
A frequently asked question is, How do I enter a piecewise defined function? For example, suppose the function f is defined as follows:

 To enter f as a function all on one line, go to the Y= menu, then enter function y1 as follows: when(x<0,x^2,when(x<1,x,2)) Enter when( from the CATALOG (located above the 2 key). The less than symbol, < , is located above the 0 key. After pressing ENTER, the Y= screen looks as shown. Alternatively, comparison symbols (< , , > , , = , ) can be entered from the MATH menu (located above the 5 key). Select item 8: Test, then make your selection.

 After the function is entered, enter the desired WINDOW (suggestion: use xmin = -2, xmax = 3, xscl = 1, yscl = 1), then press F2 to obtain the Zoom menu, then select A:ZoomFit. Notice that something appears wrong with the graph; in particular, the linear segment y = x defined on the interval from 0 to 1 is joined to the horizontal segment y = 2 defined for x > 1. When constructing a graph, the TI_92 plots a graph pixel for each pixel value of x along the horizontal axis, then connects adjacent graph pixels with straight-line segments (just like playing connect-the-dots in elementary school). For functions with a break, this connect feature is not desired. To avoid the connection for functions with a break, go to the Y= menu. Use the thumb pad to highlight the function of interest (here, y1). Then press F6 to access the Style menu, select 2:Dot, and then GRAPH. Watch the screen as the TI-92 plots individual points without connecting them. The jump discontinuity at x = 1 is now evident.

The Dot feature for graphing is important when graphing any function that would display a vertical asymptote or a jump discontinuity. As an illustration, graph y = tan(x) setting the x-values in the WINDOW from - to . Then view the graph using both the Line and the Dot styles. For graphing trigonometric functions, it is handy to use the ZOOM menu, item 7:ZTrig. The ZTrig zoom feature scales the x-axis in units of /2.

END

The author wishes to extend his appreciation to Texas Instruments for their professor assistance program. Visit the TI calculator website at http://www.ti.com.

Charles M. Biles, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics
Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA 95521-8299

email: cmb2@axe.humboldt.edu