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Q&A #18598


Using calculators

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 07, 2007 at 13:34:49
Subject: Re: Using calculators

Hi, Angela --

Thanks for writing to T2T.

I have two ideas to get you started.

Are you familiar with the classic game of NIM?
1. There is 1 pile of 13 objects, typically stones or counters.
2. There are 2 players.
3. Players take turns removing either 1 or 2 objects from the pile.
4. Whoever takes the last object loses.

This can be played by having the two players take turns on one calculator,
starting with 13, then subtracting 1 or 2 until reaching zero.

It's very simple, but gets kids thinking about strategy and number patterns.
Once kids have figured out something about winning strategy, e.g., numbers to
aim for, good starting move, the game can be adjusted.

The starting number can be different.
It can be an adding game, by starting with 0 and having a target number to
win on.
The numbers that get subtracted or added can vary, e.g., you may add a 1, 2,
or 3.

-----

Broken Calculator:
Here's an online version, but you can play it with your kids in class:
http://www.subtangent.com/maths/broken-calc.php
The idea is to use number sense and mental math to reach a target number with
a limited set of keys. Good way to work on order of operations, too. Have
kids write down their steps and see how many different ways they can find to
reach the same target. Which uses the fewest number of key strokes?

I hope this helps.

 -Claire, for the T2T service

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