How did your math journey begin? In kindergarten or at the beginning of elementary school, I first met the abacus, a simple computer that brings math closer in a more meaningful way. Soon it was certainly replaced by a calculator.
Remember that teachers didn’t let you use a calculator until the upper elementary grades? why? Calculator is a great tool to quickly calculate and solve math problems. Since the calculator is such an easy-to-use tool, the teachers wanted you to master the basics of math first: learn counting, math rules, quick arithmetic, use logic and the like. Calculators should be a support for students’ knowledge and not the only tool in their arsenal.
Can you imagine a school without calculators? Not only do they facilitate the computation and verification of results, but they are also necessary to develop mathematical curiosity and conceptual understanding. But we must not forget about their second most important function: they are the best hiding place for “plonkce”. You did not discover us.
There may come a time in the future when children hear the word “calculator” and think “What is it?”. Instead of picking up a calculator, they will pick up the phone and calculate a mathematical equation with the app. At the moment, calculators are indispensable and are used at all levels of education.
Why is a calculator still so important for learning math?
The calculator has been categorized as a lazy tool. In some countries, it has even become a major scapegoat for poor results and below-average math skills. How much truth is in this? Does using a calculator (prematurely) really prevent a child’s mathematical thinking? If so, why do we allow children to use the computer without feeling guilty? They usually get acquainted with the computer before starting elementary school, but no one complains that the computer prevents learning the basics of life. The use of computers is also encouraged, as knowledge of information technology has become one of the most sought after in the labor market. To answer the first question, no, there is no evidence that a calculator negatively affects students’ math skills. On the contrary, there is evidence that it has a positive effect and is a very effective tool for learning and teaching.
The use of a calculator is supposed to encourage the development of a sense of numbers and arithmetic. It also improves understanding of mathematics and mathematical problems. Proper use allows for mathematical research and experimentation, as well as a better understanding of basic mathematical concepts and skills. Students also find relief from stressful calculations, which allows them to focus on more important sports activities.
As with any tool, the approach and the way teachers and students use the calculator is important. It is also important to choose the right calculator. In elementary school and early high school, a basic or pocket calculator is usually sufficient. However, in the senior and college grades, students need additional functions to calculate more difficult math questions. You can choose from several types of calculators. To facilitate the selection, we have collected them in one place and explained them briefly.
What types of calculators do we know and which one best suits your needs?
Basic Pocket Calculator
This is a calculator that can be found in most homes and offices. Equipped with a small LCD screen that displays up to 12 digits, and some additional features and keys, such as “00”. It is used for basic mathematical calculations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There are two basic types of calculators, pocket calculators and desktop calculators.
If you are doing more advanced calculations, a scientific calculator is the right choice for you. It allows you to solve geometry, trigonometry, statistics and other calculations. The most advanced scientific calculator offers functions like Boolean math, hexadecimal notation, fractions, probability calculations, complex numbers, and the like. These calculators are often used by students who attend difficult mathematics subjects (trigonometry, algebra …).
Graphing calculators have advanced functions (graphs, matrices, pen support…) to calculate difficult mathematical concepts. It is more advanced than other calculators and is intended primarily for senior students in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. How is it different from scientific? Graphing calculators usually have a larger screen for displaying objects and graphs, while scientific calculators can display up to 4 rows of information.
Desktop calculator with printer
They function as basic desktop calculators with a built-in printer allowing instant printing of calculations. Some of them can be printed in two colors: black to show positive values and red for negative values. Mainly used in accounting and warehousing.
The calculator is also an indispensable tool of the 21st century. With the right features and specifications, it can make almost any math task easier.