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Topic: Re: Calculators in classrooms
Replies: 1   Last Post: Oct 6, 1999 6:34 AM

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Joan Reinthaler

Posts: 110
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Calculators in classrooms
Posted: Oct 6, 1999 6:34 AM
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I'd be careful about this. Different calculators respond differently to
the use or non-use of grouping symbols.

Joan Reinthaler
Sidwell Friends School

On Wed, 6 Oct 1999, Kevin J. Maguire wrote:

> Good morning,
> I have been reading with interest the past correspondence on the use of

inexpensive calculators in school classrooms. Together with a group of
teachers in an elementary school we have devised a particular lesson on
the 'Order of Operations'. This lesson depends upon the use of
non-scientific calculators to force children to realise that the order in
which operations are carried out is important. As an example enter the
following calculations into a calculator: 3 x 4 + 6 and 6 + 3 x 4.
Without the use of parentheses the solution to both equations is 18.
However the non-scientific calculator will give 36 as the solution to the
second equation .By presenting a series of word problems that the
children could easily calculate solutions, we use the calculator to get
them to confront the differences between the logic of their solution with
that (in the case of the second equation) of the calculator. I cannot
adequately describe the look of incredulity on the faces of some of the
students when the calculator gave a solution which they knew was
incorrect. Without the use of calculators this moment would not have
> Kind regards,
> Kevin
> Kevin J. Maguire
> Ph.D. Candidate
> Graduate School of Education
> La Trobe University
> Bundoora
> VIC 3105

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