At the school I am student teaching at starting in 2 weeks (Algebra 1), students are strongly encouraged to rely on their calculators for nearly everything, from any operation with fractions to matching graphs with equations. I am fairly sure that even the most vehement calculator proponents would agree that this is unhealthy, for instance, in the cases where using the calculator works "well enough" but doing pieces by paper or in your head will vastly increase the speed.
I recognize some questions that are similar have been asked; however, few focus on actual pedagogical techniques that are used at the high school level. Most are aimed at convincing students at the undergraduate level that they should use their calculators less, ways to talk about it during lecture, or the amount of calculator use students should be allowed. So, my question is threefold:
- What are ways that I can design assignments that discourage the over-reliance on the calculator and encourage the development of heuristics? Additionally, how would you change your answer, considering that the current class is structured on the availability of a calculator because "they are allowed on the state test"?
- What are class activities (such as group work, games) that can be done to help students develop heuristics and mental models that do not rely on calculator usage yet are still appropriate for early high school? (For instance I remember playing a sort of "beat the calculator" type game as a young elementary student that was designed for the full class.)
- What are other (direct?) instructional techniques that I can use that help students see the utility of avoiding their calculator if unnecessary? (possibly covered here)