Calculator or not?

Everything from basic math up through high school!

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chronic chick
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Calculator or not?

Postby chronic chick » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:25 pm


Have a question- How many of you let your kids use calculators for math or do you only let them use them for problems that can't be solved without a calculaotor.

I gave my dd a saxon math test and she's suppose to be a straight A math student in public school, but isn't doing well on the assessment. I didn't let her use the calculator.

I don't want to squash her ego, but kids know a days are too dependent on calculator. We only used calculaors when they were needed.

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Postby elliemaejune » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:39 pm

No calculator for anything below algebra. Ever.
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Postby Ophelia » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:01 pm

I agree with elliemaejune.

chronic chick
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Postby chronic chick » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:09 pm

Do you use it for prealgebra?

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Postby mschickie » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:03 pm

Sd was in public school up to the middle of last year. She was in the honors math class and had been an honors student in middle school. She is also doing Saxon (Algebra 2)now. I do not let her use a calculator except for problems where she needs to use her trig functions. Any arithmatic she needs to work out on her own. When we first took her out her baisc arithmatic was awful because they let her use a calculator all through out school, even though we told the teachers we did not want her using one in their class. Now a year later she is actually doing much better but still most of her errors are usually simple arithmatic errors.

When we start with dd she will not be allowed to use a calculator until upper level math either.

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Postby Theodore » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:56 pm

I would say only allow a calculator for things that require calculators. Need to build mental math skills and pencil and paper math skills, since you won't be allowed to use a calculator on tests until you get into late algebra, and you won't always have a calculator with you in real life.

Computers can fix your spelling too, but you still need to learn how to spell.

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Postby Decrease » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:18 am

I agree and will add one caveat. I think a child should know how to use a calculator so to teach them a lesson or two would not be bad. Yet, unless it is highly advanced, then a calculator is not necessary and should be avoided.

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Postby Shari Nielsen » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 am

As a high school chemistry teacher, one of the biggest problems that I find is that kids who use a calculator will write down any answer that the calculator spits out - even if it is completely wrong. We try to get the kids to estimate what the answer should be - at least determine the range - and then work it out quickly on the calculator and consider if their answer is even in the ball park.

I do see that there is a general reliance on calculators in the middle school which makes its way up to the H.S. Unfortunately, kids aren't thinking for themselves...instead they do EVERYTHING on the calculator - even multiplying something by 1!!!!!

I agree w/ the previous posts. Basic math - up to and including a lot of algebra should be done out by hand first. Only use a calculator when problems can't be solved by hand - ie. trig functions, square roots, etc. or when the actual math isn't the main focus of the assignment, such as in my case w/ chemistry.
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Postby You Enjoy Myself » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:30 pm

There is no need to use a calculator in any course material, except when you need a decimal approximation of a number. Like in physics, chemistry or statistics.

Calculators, in my view, create far more problems than they solve. Too many students use it as a crutch and can't do basic arithmetic operations without one.

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Postby comusher » Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:13 pm

Once my daughter showed that she knew how to do the math I allowed her to use a calculator to do the later problems.

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Postby ncmom » Wed May 21, 2008 11:18 am

My kids are not allowed to use a calculator. I didn't get to use one in school so they don't need one either. Kids rely on Calculators for the simple addition problems these days. Most teenagers and young adults can't even count back change anymore. Just for fun sometime, after the cashier gets the change amount on the register, throw a few pennies her way to round off your change. A lot of the cashiers where I live just about go into meltdown mode, they don't know how to do that. I'm not completely heartless though, when they get to chem, stats, and trig they get a calculator to use.

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Postby Veteropinguis » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:03 am

I usually do as much math in my head as possible, but if I'm not sure about the answer, I'll check it with a calculator.

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Re: Calculator or not?

Postby mathparent » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:56 pm

A golden rule to follow is to avoid the calculator at least till the fouth year of primary school. Kids have to develop a hands on feel for doing math operations. Calculators rob them of this. It is interesting that the top 6 math performing countries' students are discouraged from using the calculator at primary school.
I have developed a math curriculum program to get children aged four to six prepared to excel at primary school math.

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Postby edgarv » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:02 pm

Well, I'm rather dated, but we had no calculators in school even through grad school (math). I do believe that having to perform some basic calculations in my head helped me quite a bit.

Some years ago we found a math game where each person would have 5 numbered cards (face up). The final card would be placed in the center and you had to figure out how to use 5 cards, adding, subtracting multiplying and/or dividing to equal the turned up card.

We played with our nephews for a few days and their calculation speed and accuracy sky-rocketed.

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Postby josh_chs » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:20 am

Back in college, we weren't allowed calculators in my algebra class. I didn't like it at first, but I found that my mental math sharpened as the semester went along. Before the class, I just assumed I "wasn't good" at mental math. Really I just needed some practice.

Having kids do mental math is a great thing.

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