TI Nspire Resources


Session presenters: Claudio Attanasio and Russell Gordon

The Texas Instruments Nspire CAS handheld provides a computer algebra system suitable for use in conveying the Ontario mathematics curriculum.

Below are links to files and resources that we hope classroom teachers using the Nspire CAS handheld will find useful.

TNS Files

These are the files that can be loaded on to Nspire handhelds for use by students.  TNS files can be used for as simple a task as providing students with a set of data to work with, all the way to a more complex task such as providing a guided lesson for students with multiple problems and pages.

Here are examples of how TNS files can be used (these are aimed at the academic grade 10 math course, but you get the idea):





How do I get TNS files onto an Nspire handheld?

Option A

The new Connect-to-Class software offered by TI is the best option.  It allows for fast, simultaneous transfer of TNS files to up to eight Nspire handhelds at a time.

The software is not free, however.  Full details are here:

TI Connect-to-Class Teacher Software

Watch the following video for an ultra-brief primer on how to use the software to quickly distribute TNS files to your students:

Sending TNS Files to Students Using Connect-to-Class

(QuickTime Player required to view video -- download here.)

Full details about how to best use the Connect-to-Class software can be found in TI’s guidebooks:

Connect-to-Class Guidebooks

Option B

If you cannot get Connect to Class, the free TI-Nspire Computer Link software (Windows version / Mac version) is a reasonable substitute.

The primary disadvantage of using the Computer Link software is that it can transfer files to just one Nspire handheld at a time.

You can download and install the software using the links included above.

Connect the Nspire handheld to your computer with the provided USB cable that is small on one end, and large on the other.  Make sure the handheld is turned on.

You can then transfer files to and from the handheld.  Using the Computer Link software, you can also upgrade the Nspire operating system when new versions are released (about every six months).  As well, screenshots can be captured from the handheld.  Once you have a TNS file on one Nspire handheld, it’s probably best to have your students do the work of transferring that file to all the other handhelds in your class.  They can do this from the My Documents window -- students should select a file, press the menu button, and choose Send from the pop-up menu.  Students will need to connect their Nspire handhelds to each other using the short USB cables that are small on both ends.  These cables are provided with your Nspire handhelds.  Here is what these cables look like:

Having students transfer files to each other takes a surprisingly short amount of time -- students quickly become experts with this procedure.

How do I make my own TNS files to use with my students?

You could use an actual Nspire handheld, but that is way too time consuming!

Instead, use the desktop software version of Nspire.

A 30-day trial of the software is available (Windows version / Mac version).

The software can be purchased from CCS Educational (1-877-CCS-EDUC).  Texas Instruments maintains a complete list of retailers for their products.

When you write TNS files, be sure to create them in “Handheld View”.  This is necessary because the resolution of your computer screen is much larger than the resolution of an Nspire handheld.

What is TinyURL?

In our presentation, you may have noticed website addresses that start with:


This is a web-site address re-direct service.  Have you ever felt the pain of giving your students a very long website address to type into a computer?  Just one mistake and the website won’t come up.

So, instead of using addresses like:


... with your students or in your documents, you can use addresses like this:


Visit http://tinyurl.com for more details.

Other Nspire Resources

Paul Alves’ personal site (excellent collection of .tns files for Nspire)

Texas Instruments Activities Exchange (Search by device for Nspire CAS)

TIPS4RM Resources for Grade 10 Applied Mathematics

Other CAS Documents Related to Teaching Mathematics

Expanding and Factoring Patterns Using Nspire CAS

A great write-up describing how the CAS capabilities of Nspire can be used to help students discover the “rules” of expanding and factoring for themselves.

Solving Equations on a CAS

Written with TI-92 screenshots, but the same result can be achieved using the Calculator function of Nspire handhelds.

Basic Algebra with a CAS

Introduce students to like terms using CAS.

Solving Systems of Equations with a CAS - Black-box vs. White-box Approach

Are you concerned that using Computer Algebra Systems like Nspire will further increase your students’ dependency on technology?  This is a good, brief write-up on the pitfalls of “black-box” use of technology and the advantages a “white-box” approach.  Again written for an older TI calculator, but works identically on an Nspire.


CAS Activities in Grade 10 Applied TIPS4RM - OAME 2009