10 Absolutely Brilliant Creative Uses for Your Graphing Calculator

Graphing Calculator

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Graphing calculators are rites of passage to most teenagers.  Not receiving a graphing calculator is simply not experiencing a full teen life.  It’s like never getting addicted to gum, or never getting acne, or never becoming so full of hormones that when you open your mouth you not only manage to bite your tongue and cheek, but also manage to make no comprehensible sense and then break down into tears.

However, as many teens, yourself likely included, have realized, graphing calculators aren’t exactly ‘innovation’ or ‘new tech.’  They look more like something you would find on the dashboard of a model-T Ford.  Their size to function ratio is that of a walkman or video cassette tape, and they will soon likely join the ranks of piles of plastic that are choking our planet to death (if you want to read my take on global warming, do so here. If you want to read about dead fish, do so here. And, of course, you can find dead birds here).

Therefore, to prevent these hunks of plastic from becoming totally obsolete, I’ve come up with some other, less-obvious uses for them:

1) Doorstopper

I don’t know about your school, but at mine, we have this myth known as the “Fire Marshal,” who supposedly frequently audits our school to ensure it is fire-safe.  In my opinion, though, he simply steals our fire extinguishers, because all the boxes in our halls with spots for fire extinguishers are empty (either that or the teachers realized it is not a good idea to let teens access fire extinguishers unsupervised.  Probably because they don’t want us using them way most teens would; rather than putting out dangerous fires, they want us to be studying).

One use of the fire marshal, though, is to prevent us from having doorstops.  The thinking here is, I think, that the fire, not having opposable thumbs, won’t otherwise be able to get through doors.  So, just use your calculators as doorstops; that way, when the fire marshal comes by, you can just tell him that someone accidentally dropped their calculator and is going to come back. Plus, graphing calculators even have convenient rubber grips on the bottoms.  It’s like this was practically their intended use.

2) Message Passer

I bet that you knew you could type a full alphabet on your graphing calculator.  However, I bet it never occurred to you that you could type messages and pass it around, thus avoiding teacher suspicion.  Unless you are in English class, in which case, “We were just passing it around because we think it is a good metaphor for the main character’s struggles.”

3) Coin Flipper

We’ve all been in situations where the fairest way to make a decision has been to “let me choose.” However, many people don’t seem to realize how fair that is, so you often have to flip a coin.  Rather than dig around in your pockets or ask for coins, you can carry around a graphing calculator, which, get this, has a coin-flipping app! That’s so much more convenient than an actual coin.

4) Mousetrap

Nobody actually uses mousetraps anymore, because, unlike in the 1900s, mice have become pets and not vermin.  And I would hate to accidentally kill my sibling’s pet, even though it probably carries rabies, fleas, ticks, lice, tetanus, and ebola.  However, you can use a graphing calculator as a non-deadly mousetrap.  Simply leave it out in a mice-infested area.  A mouse will be overcome with curiosity, and will start pushing buttons on the calculator.  Then, while the mouse is engaged (probably on the coin-flipping app), you can sneak up and scoop it up in a box.

5) Anvil

Most of us don’t know what an anvil is really used for.  So, to help you out, I “googled” it and discovered: you can buy an anvil for anything from $45-1,500. Presumably it comes with an owner’s manual that tells you what to use it for, but if I had to guess I’d say the manual probably only tells you “DON’T mix alkaline and lithium batteries.” The real use for an anvil appears to be, as you’ve seen on TV (which is just like real-life, but more 2-dimensional), dropping it out a window and hitting someone below.  And your graphing calculator is more portable and compact than an anvil, but still weighs enough to give someone a large comical lump.  Therefore, your graphing calculator is a better anvil than an actual anvil.

6) Indoor Skates

I’ll bet you didn’t know that your calculator parts could do this.  Get four graphing calculator covers (the thing that slides over the screen and front) and remove the rubber stoppers.  Tape two of them together to make a ‘boat’ shape, and put a foot in each of the two ‘boats.’ The plastic should slide on carpet, making you just as ‘hip’ as any randomly selected presidential candidate.

7) Washboard

One of these days, even washing machines will become outdated, giving way to an ‘iWash My Clothes’ app.  However, this app won’t actually physically clean your clothes, and that’s where your calculator comes in. Since actual washboards haven’t been sold since 1932 (don’t quote me on that, and definitely don’t quote me on me saying don’t quote me), the only place you can find them is in certain instrument stores.  The buttons on your graphing calculator, though, can serve the same purpose as the ridges on a board.  Just make sure you take the batteries out before you get the calculator wet, and DO NOT mix alkaline batteries with lithium batteries.

8) A New Phone

In this age of technology innovation, new, “better,” phones are released every 5.43 seconds.  If you don’t go through at least three phones a week, you certainly aren’t ‘cool.’  To help fix this, you can pretend to use your graphing calculator as a phone.  After all, when you stand alone pretending to text, it doesn’t matter whether you use a phone or large calculator, because you aren’t actually texting anyone anyway.

9) Wristwatch

Watch fashion is something else that changes every 5.43 seconds (5.431, to be exact, and you can quote me on that), because watch companies like to make money.  A new innovation in this field has been the ‘iPod nano watch,’ where you strap a small iPod to your wrist and carry it that way.  There’s no reason why you can’t do the same with a graphing calculator, although you might need a larger case.  Even though your calculator can’t tell time, whereas the iPod nano can, it can flip coins, roll dice, and take the “fnInt(“, whatever that is.  Can your current watch do that?

10) Distraction

Teens aren’t supposed to focus.  It goes against our DNA (even though our DNA doesn’t change before/after the teen stage).  So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are focused, pull out your graphing calculator (which you should keep handy in your shirt pocket) and aimlessly push buttons.

These ten insanely genius uses for your graphing calculator illustrate one thing: if you have a teenage brain, you can come up with uses for anything.  Including spent gum wrappers, which people at one time stuck to their composition books because the gum wrappers were: “OOOooooh, Shiny.”

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  1. vilite246 says:

    And sleeping. You forgot sleeping. Heh.

  2. burstoutinsong!!! says:

    Unfortunately I have no use for even a regular calculator this year….we aren’t allowed to use them in my math class :( why did I even buy one if a can’t use it????!!!!!!!!! I pretty sure my math teacher hates us, all four of us actually in his math class (I know my school is small). Great post as usual! Congrats on reaching the 175 subscribers/readers!!

    • That is a pretty small school. At least you don’t have to worry about sharing gum with the whole class and running out. Thanks for the congratulations.

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