Strategy

Calculator

Scientific Calculator, Graphing Calculator

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.2

A calculator is a mathematical tool that can perform basic to complex mathematical operations. A simple calculator usually has functions for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages and square roots. There are also more specialized calculators such as scientific calculators, graphing calculators and conversion calculators (e.g. changing Celsius to Fahrenheit or converting dollars to euros). Calculators do not replace learning mathematical problem solving skills. However, calculators can support students with mathematical processing skills and increase efficiency when solving problems.

Implementation Tips

Understanding Conceptual Knowledge First
Students need to have some understanding of the mathematical concept prior to learning to use a calculator to solve mathematical problems. For example, a student may have already learned multiplication and has used a multiplication chart, but may have challenges with memory retention and thus require a calculator for assistance.
Problem Solving Checklist
When incorporating a calculator, teach the student the steps needed in the problem solving process and have a problem solving checklist for mathematical problems requiring more than one step.
Online Calculators
There are many calculators available online. [[ http://www.calculatorsoup.com | Calculator Soup ]] is one example that has specific calculators for different domains (e.g. adding fractions).

Examples

Algebra
A student uses a graphing calculator to double check solutions to linear equations or to determine the x and y intercepts of the line.
Converting Fractions to Decimals
During a lesson on fractions and decimals the teacher shows students how to convert fractions to decimals using long division in class. After students have had an opportunity to practice, the teacher has students practice using a calculator to convert fractions to decimals.
Multiplication with Repeated Addition
A student who has an AAC device with a calculator can practice multiplication drills by using multiple addition. For example, if the problem is 5 x 3, the student uses the calculator to add 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 15.