I know I'm digging an old thread up here but something worthwhile to try that worked wonders for me.

If you have a TI-83(+, SE, whatever) learn the CALC-BASIC language. It is absurdly simple. If you have your original book for the calculator you can get some insight into the syntax for the commands.

Every single math class in High School I would read through the chapter, look at the homework problems that needed done, then program my calculator to do them for me. It's a great way to take a hands-on approach to making sense of the formulas because you have to understand the input and outputs.

For example, the quadratic equation.

Derived from: ax^2 + bx + c = 0

Quadratic Equation:

Rules about the discriminant (b^2 - 4ac):

D > 0: Two Real Zeros

D = 0: One Real Zero

D < 0: Two Complex Conjugates

So your variables are, a, b, c, and a computed variable D

Input "A? ", A

Input "B? ", B

Input "C? ", C

b^2 - 4ac, Store D

If D > 0

Output the calculation

IF D = 0

Output the calculation

IF D < 0

Output the calculation

So, I'm not going to bother to rewrite the program so that it can be used as an example. But it's a wonderful way to change "When the hell am I going to use this in the real world" to "Hey, this program is real and I'm using it, go me"