## Date of Award

5-2004

## Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

## Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction: M.S.

## Department

Teacher Development

## College

School of Education

## First Advisor

Leslie Davison

## Second Advisor

Jan Frank

## Third Advisor

Bishnu Naraine

## Keywords and Subject Headings

Appropriate Calculator Use in the Mathematics Classroom

## Abstract

Calculator use in the mathematics classroom has been a controversial topic for over 25 years. There are mixed opinions as to when students should be allowed to use calculators, at what grade level students should use calculators, and for what topics or problems calculators should be used. Since teachers, students, parents, and society hold different opinions about the appropriate use of calculators, it is important that research on calculator use be studied carefully. “The calculator is a technological force that has been a catalyst for lively debate within the mathematics education community during the last 30 years. In the 1970s, the educational relevance of the calculator was a controversial topic” (Ellington, 2003, p. 433).

The controversy over calculator use in the mathematics classroom goes far beyond whether or not calculators should be a part of the curriculum. A major concern among educators is deciding at what grade level or age the use of calculators is most appropriate. Should students be required to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the basic skills before using a calculator, or should calculators be used to help teach the basics? Are calculators only appropriate when students study problem solving, or can calculators be applied to the mathematics curriculum across the board? Finally, how are the attitudes and motivational levels of students affected by using (or not using) calculators in the mathematics classroom?

## Recommended Citation

Vaerst, David R., "Appropriate Calculator Use in the Mathematics Classroom" (2004). *Culminating Projects in Teacher Development*. 77.

https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/ed_etds/77

## Comments/Acknowledgements

At the time this Starred paper was written, students did not have cell phones, portable laptops, Chromebooks, etc. with them in the classroom. The calculator was seen at the main tool students had to help with calculations, which added accuracy to their work. Assessing what students know should not be based on their basic calculating skills. If a student is asked to solve 2x + 435 = 876, they should be graded on whether they knew to subtract 435, followed by dividing by 2. If a student was weak at subtraction or division, that should not determine whether or not the student knew the correct steps in solving the equation.