Q&A #846

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Use of calculators

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From: Owen

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2007120415:18:44
Subject: k4 and calculators

I looked at a lot of sites on this topic and found there a people on both sides of this debate. Some say students must have calcualtors for grade 1 to 4 and others saw it will destroy the childs abiliy to do math. I think any tool can be misused. Any system can be taught wrong. If the calculator it taught correctly then it can be very helpful. If it is used as a crutch then it will be harmful. Some people do not have any idea how the calculator works on the inside. It is just a mysterious black box that you input data and get out answers. The problem with this is garbage in equals garbage out. One teacher said he has a broken calculator and has the students try to use it to see if they can tell if it has the wrong answer. He also plays a game where one of the keys does not work and the student must use the smaller keys to replace the broken key when they do calculations. I made a paper calculator so the student has the "map" or location of the numbers and then they do the calculations in their head. You can get a free copy of the DotMath calculator from the DotMath for kids web site. Just type "DotMath for kids" into the google box and it will help you find the site. There are a lot of other graphics on the site you may also find interesting. good luck in your teaching.

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