Transitioning from middle school to high school is a big step. As a student, you have more autonomy to select electives that interest you and you have an opportunity to learn more complex subjects.
Instead of simply studying basic maths, suddenly your schedule is busy with classes like calculus, statistics, functions and algebra. Students also start applying their mathematical abilities in other courses like business and biology.
Elementary school lays the groundwork for the foundational math skills that will be learned in high school. After leaving the basics of a primary school maths curriculum. Counting, calculus, additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions are now the numerical foundation to the new mathematical knowledge that you are going to learn.
High school maths teachers are present and willing to help students every step of the way but it’s up to the student to arrive in class prepared with the necessary maths school supplies. So what do you need to buy for maths at secondary school?
We have compiled a comprehensive list detailing the essential maths equipment you will need to enable you to be successful in the classroom, during exams and beyond.
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High School Supply List: The Basics
Every student should come to class prepared with the school supplies list of materials needed. Whether your courseload is stocked with math classes or you’re focusing more attention on English, Science or the Arts, it’s important to be prepared with the following essentials:
- Black and blue ink pens
- Loose lined paper
- Folders, or some organizational method
- Index cards
- Highlighters (green, blue, yellow)
- Post-it notes
- 2” binder
- *8 divider tabs
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Different Types of Maths Calculators
The calculator you need in elementary school is not equal to the calculator you require in high school or post-secondary school. Each different kind of calculator offers various functions that assist students through core subjects, such as basic math, biology, graphing or business.
The calculator will be your biggest essential purchase for your math course. The basic style calculator will no longer help you in your classes. You will use your new calculator to work on some serious math exercises such as:
- First factors
- Whole numbers
- Realization of graphics
- Prime numbers
- Matrix calculations
- Trigonometric functions
- Tables of values
- Complex numbers
- Multivariate statistics
The Basic Calculator
This foundational calculator specializes in subtraction, addition, multiplication and division. The basic calculator is sufficient for primary or elementary school level. The basic calculator should cost under $20 and can be used for basic math.
The Scientific Calculator
The scientific calculator is any calculator that has the following keys – sin, cos, tan, log. The scientific calculator can do everything that the simple calculator can do. It is also able to perform much more complex equations and calculations.
You can perform calculations like Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Precalculus, Calculus, Geometric, Fractions, Equations, Algebraic, Competency, Trigonometry, exponents and logarithms. This calculator usually costs less than $20. The TI-30XS MultiView™ is a high-quality machine for under $20.
The Graphing Calculator
The graphing calculator can do everything that the simple calculator (like Pre-Algebra and Precalculus) and the scientific calculator can do (like Geometry, Trigonometry and algebraic calculations).
The graphing calculator tends to be larger to accommodate the larger screen and is more expensive than other calculators. It’s possible to obtain a second-hand graphing calculator to save on costs.
The following graphing calculators are recommended for maths at secondary school:
- TI-84+ ($90 – $120)
- TI-84+ silver ($115 – $140)
- Advantages: More memory and more downloadable applications than the 84+
- TI-89 ($150)
- Advantages: More built-in functions and capability than the 84+, including a function solver and the ability to solve and simplify problems symbolically
- Disadvantages: More difficult to learn how to use than the others
- TI-Nspire ($135-$160)
- Advantages: Newest model, much faster, bigger screen and some models have a rechargeable battery pack.
- Disadvantages: Cost and the TI-89 is still more capable for calculus.
Calculators for Secondary School Maths Classes
High school supplies are dependent on distinct courses. For example, a student enrolled in a graphing maths course will need a different calculator from a student enrolled in a business class. The following outlines the differentiated maths classes and the ideal equipment for each class.
Calculators Recommended for Different Math Courses
- Algebra 1: No calculator is required but a simple calculator is ideal for times where a student will be allowed to use one.
- Geometry: A simple calculator is required, but scientific calculators are recommended.
- Algebra 2: A scientific calculator is required, but graphing calculators are preferred.
- Algebra 2 Honors: Graphing calculators are required.
- Pre-Calculus and Pre-Calculus Honors: Graphing calculators are preferred.
- Statistics: A scientific calculator is required, but graphing calculators are preferred.
- Calculus: A graphing calculator is required.
High School Supply List: Other Maths Essentials
Buying the right calculator is top-of-mind for many students entering more complex math courses in secondary school, but it’s not the only tool you need in your math toolbox. There are several other important math supplies you need to cross off your list before starting a new course.
Graph paper is very useful in secondary school maths. You can purchase individual graph paper and add it to a ringed binder or stock up on notebooks that are filled with graph paper. Graphing notebooks will keep your equations organized.
It’s recommended that you have a separate notebook containing graph paper for each math class. It’s also important to note that graphing paper isn’t just for composing graphs, it’s designed for various maths functions, from creating charts to illustrating geometric angles.
A maths compass is a V-shaped instrument used in geometry. One side of the compass has a sharp point and on the other side, there is a place to attach a pencil. This tool is used to create perfect circles in geometry. It is normally part of a geometric kit that has other items described below.
A 30 cm ruler the standard size and ideal for drawing a complete line on a sheet of A4 without having to adjust the ruler. Many primary students have a rule of 15 cm which is sufficient in most cases. Purchase a sturdy ruler that will last throughout elementary, middle and high school.
The protractor is either a full circle or more commonly a semicircle of 180 degrees. This tool measures the degree of angles. It is necessary to get one for math classes. This is also part of the geometric kit that typically contains a protractor and ruler.
The triangle has many uses as it serves many angles and is also a ruler. This tool also part of the geometric kit
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Where To Buy High School Maths Supplies?
Protractor, calculator, eraser, pencil, ruler, all the necessary mathematical material can be found in different ways. First, determine your budget to inform where you want to shop. Borrowing or renting equipment is a great alternative to spending on maths supplies.
- Ask family and friends who have completed their maths studies or courses that you or your child are taking.
- Check second-hand stores or online forums where people have donated used calculators, binders and other essential math supplies.
- The dollar store has a surprisingly large selection of school supplies throughout the year.
- Visit large stores like Walmart during their roll-back events to find deals on school supplies.
- Visit office supply stores like Staples to stock up on all the essentials.
- Buy your calculator from a technology store like Best Buy.
- Shop online and order your maths supplies from fast delivery services like Amazon.
- The last trick is to buy your equipment at your school. Some schools offer a school shop that offers good prices on calculators and other maths equipment.
Get Ready for Back to School Season!
Starting a new chapter of your education is exciting. Dive into interesting new math classes with a backpack stocked full of the necessary school supplies, from colourful pens to high-tech graphing calculators.
If you’re looking for another way to enter the school year with confidence, learn more about how hiring a personal math tutor could help you excel in your coursework and exams and prepare you for a bright future of opportunity.
Check out our article on math kits for children.