Have you tried Dollar General, Family Dollar, or Dollar Tree stores?  Sometimes they will have small, cheap models of calculators that are only four-function.  I agree with you 100% as I believe it is important for students to learn these basic operations without a calculator.  I have fought the same battle as you, because accommodations are not supposed to compromise the integrity of the course.  However, we both know when part of the competencies for the course state that we must teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, allowing the use of even a four-function calculator compromises the integrity of the course. 


Good luck on your search!







Amanda Spencer-Barnes

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Advisor – Phi Theta Kappa

Technology Coordinator - KYMATYC

Hazard Community and Technical College

601 Jefferson Avenue

Jackson, KY 41339

(606)666-7521 ext. 73530




Higher Education Begins Here



Change won’t happen until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.  –Emory Austin


Big men become big by doing what they didn't want to do when they didn't want to do it.
--  Source Unknown


From: [] On Behalf Of Seese, Lillian M.
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 10:13 AM
Subject: 4 function calculators


This is a follow up to my request for where to by 4-function calculators (without square root or % buttons), which I am sending because of all the questions I received from you. 


First,  “why would anyone want a 4-function calculator?”

               Our special needs students have always been given the accommodation of a4-function calculator if they need it for number facts.  Recently, they have been hard to find, and so our office which evaluates students’ needs for accommodations says, “calculator or fact sheet.”  We thought that meant that we could eliminate calculators altogether for basic math tests on whole numbers, but we were told that we could only eliminate the use of the last 2 keys – say, glue them down?  But if we didn’t want to do that, we could withhold the calculator for problems involving percents and square roots, and make fact sheets available.

               All of this seems pretty weird, so we went on a search for 4-function calculators – hence my e-mail to you.



Lillian Seese

Professor of Mathematics

St Louis Community College at Meramec

11333 Big Bend Blvd.

Kirkwood MO  63122



It turns out that the only place we’ve found them is on those sites where you can customize coffee mugs, pencils, etc.  for example, “”  sells a solar 4-function calculator for $2.57


               I sometimes think we are the only department left that feels that learning whole number operations, with borrowing, lining up place values, combining like terms, etc. is important…  thanks to all of you who responded to me!