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January 11, 2010

Should students be allowed to use calculators?

I was reading the most recent newsletter from currclick I thought it was interesting that out of the other over 500 families pulled there was a pretty much even split over the use of calculators.



In my own house we haven't use calculators to much but on occasion it's called for, just mainly because I want to introduce them to calculators and some of the functions available. What's your stance on calculators? Yay or Nay

21 comments:

  1. I personally follow a Classical Education formatt in which calculators are frowned upon in early elementary grades. I totally agree with this stance because I feel like you have to have the basics of mathematical functions down before introducing a shortcut. And a calculator is a shortcut way of learning. Now somwhere around late Jr. High I would begin to introduce calculator functions. I will never forget the time I was in a store where the register stopped working to give the amount of change and the teenage cashier couldnt figure the change without a calculator and it was just basic subtraction. We are to dependent upon technology to think for us today. Technology should be an addition to traditional learning.

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  2. I totally agree with you that they NEED to know basics of math and I find it SAD when teenagers can't do basic math like you pointed out without the aid of a calculator. I agree that they NEED to know how to do the problems without a calculator.

    With that said I'm not against introducing calculators at elementary age. Mine enjoy using the calculator while we are grocery shopping. They like to add all the prices together. It keeps them busy as I shop!

    As far was actual school work and lessons. We have only have had 2 lessons out of the 75 lessons we have covered this year that used a calculator. All the other lessons have been calculator FREE.

    It wasn't because the problems where beyond their scope. They could have done them. It was really to teach the difference between the C and AC/CE key or other things of that nature. And to have some fun and a little break from the normal math stuff.

    Thank-you, Erin for sharing your stance with us. I appreciated reading your opinion on it. Thanks!!!

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  3. In the younger grades, I think that the only calculator kids should be using is the one in their head. I do think calculators are necessary in the upper grades (middle school and up).
    Now, I have let my 3rd grader play with a calculator to see how it works, and lately I've been thinking about letting her use it to check her homework. My biggest concern with that is that she will not go back and correct her mistakes manually.
    I think it's important that they know how to operate one, but they need to know how to do the math on their own first.

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  4. I agree with the other ladies, it is much better for them to learn how to do the math first. I will sometimes let my son who is 12 use a calculator on 1 or 2 problems, to get used to using one. But I think I only did that 2 times this year. So many people rely on technology to do even the simplest things.

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  5. Thank-You Amy for your input and for becoming a recent follower of Catholic Christian Homeschooling :) Hope to see you around :)

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  6. I am for it. I let mine use them after the 2ed grade. Ex- if my daughter is dividing, she has to work out the whole problem but can use the calc. to help her. She can't just put ***/***= *** it has to be done the long way ;-). She has to show herc work! It really helped her in learning multiplication, she got to where she would just write the answer and not use the calculator.
    So I guess it depends on how they use it. She still has to complete all the steps in each process. She can do them with or without it. And she chooses not to use it all the time, even though it is available.

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  7. Thanks Becky for giving your input!

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  8. Absolutely not! I'm very anti-calculator. I see the benefit for more difficult high school math, but for elementary math? No way!

    But I don't think using a calculator for grocery shopping counts :) I let my 8 year old do that for me.

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  9. Katie Thanks for sharing your stance and opinions! I'm thankful to see everyone pitch in with their thoughts on this! It's really interesting....

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  10. Interesting discussion! In general we did not use a calculator before high school level math, but I had one child who constantly made arithmetic errors so by late middle school I let her use a calculator so she could progress. She understood the math concepts, just made a lot of computational errors. We focused on that separately and eventually she was able to do much better. (Straight A's in college now.:)

    Dana Wilson
    www.epikardia.com

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  11. Thanks Dana for your input! Keep them coming!! :)

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  12. I don't have a strong stance on this. That being said, my son is in 7th grade pre algebra, and has yet to use the calculator for anything other than playing. I guess I am not such a fan of calculators prior to upper level math courses.
    Like a few of your readers pointed out, it always depends on the child. If you find it motivates a child, and is helping them learn, well then it would be a wonderful tool for that child. It is the beauty of homeschooling, the ability to look at each child and find what works for him/her.

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  13. Thanks Tami for sharing your views.

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  14. I think calculators are a handicap, they get use to them , they wont know what to do with out them :( I wont let Jacob use one

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  15. Thanks Renee for giving your input! :) You guys Rock for sharing your thought here!

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  16. My steadfast rule is that each student must be able to prove a mastery of concept in doing all operations by HAND quite proficiently first...and THEN they may use a calculator...usually this ends up being 8th or 9th grade...sometimes 7th for some things. At the high school level, they NEED to be able to function with a calculator for Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Calculus, etc...(not that those last two are needed unless they are pursuing secondary education in a field that requires it). I agree with Erin J that technology should be an addition or supplemental tool to learning. I actually feel the same about writing...and my kids must do all of their drafts in long-hand and may only use the computer for the final copy.

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  17. That's very interesting what you said about long-hand and having to write every thing out first Judy. I wonder if there is such strong feelings regarding that as there seems to be with the calculator.

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  18. Well...not meaning to take your post off topic...but since you sort of invited this part of the discussion...I will say that a few years ago...the SAT's which used to have a HUGE section of ANALOGY questions...changed their form, got rid the analogies and replaced it with on the spot essays...they noticed IMMEDIATELY that students who had grown up "thinking, writing, and drafting things" on the computer...were NOT faring well on the essay because it is done long-hand with pencils for the SAT's!!!!
    Studies show that the brain process of thinking with pencils in hand as opposed to thinking while typing is different and therefore they recommend that you have your kids write things OFTEN in long-hand to develop this skill if they intend to take the SAT.

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  19. WOW! That's very interesting Judy! I had no idea about that. I would LOVE to hear more about this.... This I would think is very important!

    I'm learning so much just with my reseach about multisensory reading and convergiancy insufficancy. One of the things I've learned that outside play, riding a bike, climbing trees, and things of that nature or critical to developing the eye muscles.

    My kids are horrible couch potatoes, but I know they watch just as much if not more TV (video and computer games) then the typical child these days. (And always have). I can't but feel some what guilty now. Of course I can't find the source now, but when I do I'll be sure to link to it.

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  20. You know SAHM, we ALL have things in the past of our parenting that we wish we would have done differently. NO NEED to feel guilty...because now you have a better understanding. You can't go back...that is true...but you CAN do something about "from now on" !! I am CERTAIN (though I am only getting my first education about this condition via your posts) that changing the couch potato into the outdoor kid (or whatever you read is necessary for the eye muscles) will be able to change the future right? Or does this involve some synapses in the brain that MUST be connected by a certain point or they never connect? I doubt it..otherwise therapy/improvement wouldn't be possible and it sounds like it IS possible from what you've read thus far.

    As to the writing with pencil in hand...that is why I'm so glad that your children and my children write letters to each other without a computer!!!!!
    They are having FUN, but they are REALLY helping their brains develop as well!!!!

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