Learning to use a calculator has a positive impact on a student’s mathematical thinking and their willingness to tackle tough problems.Whether calculators should be used in elementary math teaching is still a topic of debate. The new school curriculum suggests that we take a different perspective regarding calculator use. Students will still benefit from using them early in the year to boost their mathematical thinking, as long as you devote sufficient time to teaching and reviewing computation. In this article, I will discuss a few reasons why calculators are not absolutely bad and why it should be introduced to most students.
When Should Calculators Be Introduced?
Calculators aren’t all that bad, but in fact is a great learning tool. However, introducing calculators to young children before they are thought the basic fundamentals of math might not be a good idea. Don’t advocate giving them to young children who have not had time to develop number sense, because entering numbers into a calculator won’t be meaningful to them.
Introducing calculators to 5th graders who had developed a fairly solid understanding of numbers is effective. Teaching children at this age about step-by-step math solving and using step-by-step algebra calculator not only promotes logical thinking but also encourages children to do math. However, if you observe your students randomly punching numbers in as if they are hoping to stumble on the answer, it might be time to put the calculators away for a while and focus on math problem solving strategies. Read more!
Why are Calculators useful?
- Overcoming computational limitations. –Overcoming computational limitations is especially helpful for students with special needs. It removes barriers such as the fear of jumbling up the numbers in their head, to more advanced levels of math instruction.
- Encourage the use of multiple strategies. –They can solve a problem using one strategy (without or without a calculator) and check their answers using a different tool.
- Solving more problems in less time.–Students tend to work faster when using calculators. This allows students to complete more math problems in a given time.
- Calculators promote persistence in problem solving. – Persistence is crucial in math. Sometimes, math problems can be tricky. As students begin to try different methods, spending time on tedious calculations might become frustrating. Calculators ensures students are spending more time in logical thinking
- Promote a positive attitude towards problem solving. –The subsequent feeling of accomplishment in solving a math problem promotes a more positive attitude toward the next problem. Using a calculator drastically increases the chance that a student will get the correct answer in a reasonable amount of time. For more information, visit: https://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Mathematical-Calculation-Skills
As students go through your school years, math can become more and more challenging. The idea with calculators is to ensure students are learning the concept rather than spending that time to do tedious calculations. Calculators in my opinion, is always a great tool. Yes, it might not be best approach when teaching a young child who has not yet grasped the complete understanding of the basic fundamentals of math. For upper elementary school students, calculator usage skills should be recommended as the math curriculum become more complex. Doing math involving absurdly complex number square rooting, or dividing decimal numbers or simply multiplying large numbers is best done using a calculator. It will ensure accuracy more frequently than it would when doing the math by paper and pencil.