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Topic: CR: Calculators and Mental Math
Replies: 6   Last Post: Apr 22, 1996 12:36 PM

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Posts: 90
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: CR: Calculators and Mental Math
Posted: Apr 21, 1996 5:45 PM
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In a message dated 96-04-21 16:21:10 EDT, (Lou Talman)

>Marge, I agree fully up to the point where you bring calculators
>into the picture. I guess what I don't get it the difference
>between doing hand calculation to learn that 50 * 89 = 89 * 50 on
>the one hand and using a calculator on the other hand. The
>understanding should be rooted in what multiplication means and on
>what it's for--not on how one gets a number.


I agree with you except I am seeing a large percentage of students who do not
know their multiplication tables. I learned the commutative property
(although not its name) when I learned the multiplication tables in early
grade school. Now students think they don't need to learn anything as boring
as multiplication tables - they will always have calculators.

I learned that multiplication undid division in part through an understanding
of multiplication tables again. It is hard for students for whom division has
always been a button push to grasp the concept of opposite operations. Oh
they can investigate on the calculator but they don't seem to put concepts
into permanent memory - its just another button pushing routine.

If we still think it important for students to be able to spell, why is it
not equally important that they learn basic math facts?


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