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Maths - How to use SIGMA Notation - Manually and with a TI Calculator

Updated on December 6, 2009

 So hopefully by the end of this you will understand how to use sigma if it ever comes up when you’re doing some maths at school or UNI. It’s quite common in UNI and if you’re like me and your brain isn’t built for maths hope this helps. Have a graphics calculator really speeds up the process to so I will go through how to enter an equation into your calculator. Most people use ti calculators so I will give a little example on how to use sigma on a ti calculator.

Sigma is simply an abbreviation or handy way to notate long sums.

For example  

0 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 would be in sigma notation ( i = 0 ) at the bottom and 7 at the top of sigma 

So the next step is to plug in every value for ( i ) into the term right of the sigma symbol and adding them up.

Another helpful explanation is  The sum ( 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 +10 + 11 + 12) 

Can be written in these different ways
Can be written in these different ways

If you got this far and your still confused that’s alright I was ready to run out of the room screaming. Here's another example that should make it click for you

From the above picture we see a 5 above the sigma sign a (i = 0 ) below and ( i^2) to the side. The 5 on the top denotes how many numbers you will sum together, The i^2 denotes that you must square each value from zero to five and the ( i = 0) tells you the number you will start at in this case 0.   

this method for texas instruments graphic calculators
this method for texas instruments graphic calculators
had this pic on comp not sure where i go it from
had this pic on comp not sure where i go it from

SIGMA on the Calculator

 SUM can be found by pressing 2nd STAT (LIST)

-> MATH #5 sum

 SEQ can be found by pressing 2nd STAT (LIST)

-> OPS #5 seq 

Hooray the end

that's it for the hub:) hope you enjoyed it probably didn't unless you needed to know how to use sigma but i hope it helps those who do.

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    • profile image

      austin 

      6 years ago

      for any programmers out there...this describes a for loop.

      so the first example can be written like this:

      for(i=0;i<12;x++)

      {

      sum+=x;

      }

      the second one:

      for(i=0;i<5;i++)

      {

      sum+=(i^2)

      }

      (< is less than...because they wont allow inequity signs on a blog dedicated to math...-_-)

    • profile image

      Grace 

      6 years ago

      Can you tell me how to use the summation notation on my TI-89 when the increment is less than 1? I haven't been able to find a single site that explains how to solve "sqrt(1+x^4) on the interval [0,1] with delta x=.1.

    • profile image

      Tom 

      6 years ago

      It was helpful.Thanks....

    • profile image

      alana 

      7 years ago

      WOW THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!! stupid calculator doesn't have a sigma sign..

    • profile image

      chip 

      7 years ago

      that explanation was so simple, why cant they just put that in maths textbooks

    • profile image

      Neville Mitchell 

      8 years ago

      Damn that was so easy on the calculator, if only i had found this site at the beginning of my course

    • profile image

      yo 

      8 years ago

      thanks:)

    • expectus profile imageAUTHOR

      expectus 

      8 years ago from Land Downunder

      hehe glad it helped swifty, I had the exact same problem that's why I made this hub :)

    • profile image

      swifty 

      8 years ago

      30 hours I was searching on my Ti-84 how to do that damn Sigma... you saved me thx so much :)

    • profile image

      swifty 

      8 years ago

      thx sooooo much

    • profile image

      Al 

      8 years ago

      thank you so much... your so good at making people understand... thanks to you i now understand sigma

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