Jump to content


Calculator use?

Recommended Posts

Is it okay to allow my dd with learning disabilities use a calculator to do most of her math? I have not allowed her to use one at all yet. She has finished Saxon 8/7 and started Alg 1/2.


The thing is, she "gets" most of the math at this level. She also understands long division, but that is what really trips her up. It is difficult for her to Keep the numbers in line and to keep track of where she is. Fine motor issues, along with processing problems, really make this difficult. The frustration this causes leads to major "meltdowns".


If I allow her to use a calculator for most of her math, would this cause problems for her when she takes standardized tests?


Thanks for any advice.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

She will be expected to use a calculator on her SAT's, so it's fine to let her have practice with it. Maybe, at this point, she could use it for half her work and do the other half w/o it to practice what she's not good at.


One thing I wish I had done for the SAT is have ds become VERY familiar and fast on the keyboard with his calculator. I think part of the reason his score was so low in math is that he ran out of time because he isn't fast entering the numbers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Chris. It's important that your student become very proficient with the calculator. Those big ones can be very intimidating. I would suggest that you have her use the TI-83+. My student (finishing 9th grade and Algebra I) has LD's in reading, writing, and math, and can handle that calculator just fine. Your student will need to know how to use the calculator as an aid to quick completion of the math problems on the ACT and SAT.


To help your student keep her numbers in line and help her keep track of where she is, you might have her write her problems on graph paper, one digit per square. My student also does a portion of problems on a small whiteboard.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once a student can accurately do the basic operations with pencil and paper, I encourage calculator use. I want the student to be able to concentrate on learning and mastering the new concept rather than getting bogged down with the mechanics of the calculation. HOWEVER, I ask that they ask themselves "Does this answer make sense?" It's so easy to punch a wrong button -- either a digit or operator -- and come up with a wildly wrong answer. If they make a quick mental estimate of the answer before they hit that "=" button, hopefully they'll recognize a mistake and re-calculate.


BTW, while calculators are allowed on the SAT and ACT, they are rarely, if ever, really necessary. Almost all of the problems reduce to very simple calculations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used Algebra 1/2 in my 7th grade class this year. For the first half of the year, my students did not use a calculator. In the second half of the year, I allowed a simple 4-operation calculator. The long division with many decimals was just tedious, and they understood the concept well.


Next year in Algebra 1, they will all use a graphing calculator. We require TI-83+ and use the graphing functions quite regularly for solving systems of equations. It's a great tool to master before standardized testing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...