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I’m a high school math teacher. That isn’t any normal price I’ve ever seen for a ti-84+, it’s actually about $100. Here’s the standard amazon listing which is consistent at most other places. If you want the color version (which I don’t recommend) you’re looking at about $150.
Btw, the color versions are backlit and rechargeable. This means that since they’re backlit they suck down the batteries and have to be recharged way more often than the non-backlit version which last forever on one set of 4 AAAs. Also, those rechargeable batteries only take so many charges before they start seeing decreased life. I’ve had multiple students who have to charge their calculators weekly or more and eventually they won’t hold a charge. You can take apart the calculator and replace them yourself if you don’t mind getting into it. But, lots of people aren’t comfortable with doing that and ti isn’t going to do it for you.
Secondly, this whole calculator conspiracy theory is just that. We math teachers don’t suggest ti because there’s some ti rep padding our pockets or because “Pearson is paid blah blah blah”. We suggest them because they’re simple and idiot proof. The older ones were tanks. They’re more intuitively set up than Casios or HPs. They’re just good calculators.
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I just checked Amazon. They have TI 84 Plus for $90.00. Proof
The TI-84 has only the 10^x key. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XOLOQMK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fab_1-7CFbNDDDN54. I don’t know your chem teacher from Adam, but I’ve come across a few who are very bad at math. To not know they’re the same is a bad sign.