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Topic: 4 function calculators
Replies: 9   Last Post: Feb 9, 2013 5:46 PM

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Edward (Ed) D. Laughbaum

Posts: 246
Registered: 12/4/04
RE: 4 function calculators
Posted: Feb 8, 2013 11:44 AM
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Lillian & Amanda,

The educational value of any calculator is
decreased when it is thought of and used as a
tool to do mathematics. I think this is what you
are both suggesting - it is a tool used to do
arithmetic. The issue is that this thinking
decreases any possibility of using a 4-function
calculator as a tool to teach addition,
subtraction, multiplication, and division of
whole numbers, fractions and decimals. Basic
arithmetic operations are loaded with patterns
that can be capitalized upon to teach arithmetic.
Even at the lowest level of mental processing,
the brain is still a great pattern generalizer.
The neural process of generalizing both creates a
memory of the generalization and produces an
understanding of the generalized content. The
challenging part of this for teachers is being
able to create/develop a pattern that students can generalize from.


At 10:37 AM 2/8/2013, Spencer-Barnes, Amanda G (Hazard) wrote:
>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
>[] 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!

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