Back-to-School Shopping for Calculators

Aug 24, 2017 | Cambridge

What kind of calculator is best for elementary school children?

The only calculator elementary students need is the one between their ears.  Elementary school math curriculum focuses on arithmetic, or the study of numbers using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Elementary children need to practice their mental math skills. Doing arithmetic mentally and on paper develops critical skills like mathematical reasoning, numerical fluency, and number sense. Using a calculator robs them of that repetitive practice.

We, at Mathnasium of Cambridge, recommend parents not buy any calculator for their elementary school children. If they get frustrated doing math without a calculator, bring them into Mathnasium of Cambridge for an assessment. They likely have a learning gap. Fix Broken Math Tools.

When are scientific and graphing calculators needed?

Scientific calculators are a tool to help in algebra, engineering, and statistics. A graphing calculator is a scientific calculator with a high resolution screen and includes the ability to plot coordinates and graph functions. Math teachers expecting students to use these types of calculators will specify the type of calculator needed on their school supply list. Mathnasium of Cambridge defers to individual teacher preferences and the curriculum of the class when using scientific or graphing calculators is appropriate. Scientific and graphing calculators still have all the basic operations available, so we caution students not to replace mental math and arithmetic with a calculator.

Why Middle and High School Students Shouldn’t Use Calculators for Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing

Although many secondary students have progressed to algebra or beyond, mental math is still a skill they need to keep sharp. Students who start relying on calculators will find their skills in mental math weaken. Of all skills learned in school, the ability to mentally calculate numbers is one of the most useful in day to day life.

Already Dependent on a Calculator?

If your child already uses a calculator for basic math operations, bring him or her by our center for a no risk assessment. Dependence on a calculator indicates a learning gap may undermine their math efforts. We can address any issues to ensure their future success. Please call today to schedule the assessment. 

Give us a call at 519-893-0808

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