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Questions tagged [calculators]

Questions about the use of various handheld calculating devices and their role or effect in mathematics education.

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57 votes
15 answers
17k views

Student: Why not use a calculator?

The kid I am teaching math (subtraction for large numbers right now) just said this is all too easily done by a calculator, why don't we use it? Well, I did tell him that you can only learn more ...
Rijul Gupta's user avatar
  • 1,165
26 votes
8 answers
4k views

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

I'm trying to help someone pass their final exam (analysis of functions) so they can graduate high school and move on to college. (Not a teacher, just another student, currently in high level math) ...
Bassinator's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
937 views

Handing out $2 calculators for tests?

In a store last weekend, I saw a simple solar-powered calculator for $2. It had four functions plus a square root key. I'm considering the possibility of buying 50 such calculators and handing them ...
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

A study comparing effects of calculator usage on later math skills?

Each year my university tries to decide whether or not it will have calculator and CAS based introductory math courses (the calculus sequence, linear algebra, and ODE) or not. Other than some hearsay ...
davidlowryduda's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to create a misuse of calculator!

Let me start by sharing what happened in my class today. The subject was complex number and I started with the historical problem of "finding two numbers whose sum is equal to 10 and whose product is ...
Amir Asghari's user avatar
  • 4,438
15 votes
22 answers
8k views

What are some simple problems that calculators get wrong?

A frequent issue with students is their uncritical over-reliance on computation devices. While these can of course be quite helpful, they also need to be handled with care, because they make ...
Carl's user avatar
  • 199
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

How does a reliance on calculators affect student performance?

Overheard in the Math Office while another Professor was helping a student with Statistics: Always use a calculator when doing decimal arithmetic because you'll eventually make a mistake if you do ...
Andrew Sanfratello's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
345 views

Do electronic calculators inhibit mathematical thinking?

I am interested in educators real-world experience or being pointed to any research in this area. I have a student whose arithmetic skills are weak for his/her age. The student counts on his/her ...
Clive Long's user avatar
13 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it a bad idea to offer variants of a final exam based on the type of allowed calculators?

Background/rant: I am in charge of teaching our single quarter course on vector calculus (don't ask me why the department head thinks the area can be covered in half a semester). The two biggest ...
Jyrki Lahtonen's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
775 views

Appropriate ways/sayings to discourage undergraduate students' overreliance on calculators

Main question: How do I, in a medium- to large-sized undergraduate class setting, appropriately and effectively discourage students from relying too heavily on calculators? There have been several ...
Brendan W. Sullivan's user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
1k views

Should my high school students use tablets or conventional calculators?

Background: I'm teaching mathematics at a high school with emphasis on mathematics and natural sciences. Usually, pupils at our school have to buy a calculator (TI-89) and we work with those during ...
Huy's user avatar
  • 699
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are there examples of countries where the use of CAS systems or graphing calculators was deemphasized or discontinued?

In the last 30 years more and more countries introduced graphing calculators and then CAS systems to their high-school students. But are there already any examples of a trend in the opposite direction?...
Julia's user avatar
  • 1,275
9 votes
7 answers
478 views

Loaning students calculators during exams

Context: I am an associate professor at a small liberal arts institution in the US. I find in my introductory business math course that students sometimes fail to buy a calculator for the course, ...
AegisCruiser's user avatar
  • 1,427
9 votes
2 answers
514 views

Becoming independent of the calculator

I have an excellent undergraduate student who is suddenly being put into math classes where she does not have access to a calculator. She is fine with all the new topics, but when running into ...
Chris Cunningham's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
299 views

If a computer could be programmed to do a math test, then should those tests be changed?

Not only do calculators have solving capabilities, but some computer programs or websites also provide step-by-step solutions to questions (here is WolframAlpha's). Although I understand a logical ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
565 views

Is there a calculator centered secondary school curriculum somewhere?

Context For the last few years I have been pondering about the use and disuse of calculators in secondary school level mathematics. Now, after coming across a 'hot network question' regarding a ...
David Mulder's user avatar
7 votes
10 answers
10k views

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

Before you downvote this question, I actually want an answer to this. Is the calculator going to give me my derivative? No. Is it going to give me my integral? No. It can sure give me the answer to my ...
K Split X's user avatar
  • 187
7 votes
1 answer
348 views

Rational Powers of Negative Numbers on Basic Calculators

Context: I teach at a small liberal arts school in the US. The students of interest in this question are generally in their first year. In courses like precalculus and calculus I like to use ...
AegisCruiser's user avatar
  • 1,427
7 votes
2 answers
306 views

High school level activities to decrease reliance on calculators?

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 ...
Opal E's user avatar
  • 4,043
4 votes
3 answers
288 views

Statistics students lack calculator skills, how to help them?

Many of my statistics students will calculate the standard deviation for a set of data using the formula when it is not required or appropriate. When faced with something like $\sqrt{56}$ they will ...
futurebird's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
252 views

How to reinforce mental times tables skills in a senior calculus (optimisation) class?

Like many teachers, I see the students reach for the calculators to solve problems - now graphics calculators are indeed very useful for modelling in topics such as optimisation. However, I notice ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
114 views

Best Free Direction Field Plotter?

Can you recommend one for a first or second year calculus course? Ideally the website that can plot direction fields: is free is 100% WYSIWYG (does not require any coding or markup or anything of the ...
BravoMath's user avatar
  • 564