# Calculator Use Question 7th Grade

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DD is in Pre-Algebra. She is good at math, but hates long division and almost always makes a "careless" error that causes her to have to redo the problem.

We are working on converting units of measure (feet into miles, etc) so she keeps having problems requiring her to divide by 5280 or 1760. She wants to use a calculator for these long division problems. She is fine with the multiplication.

Is this a bad idea? I know it's important to KNOW long division, which she does, but seriously, I have been a bookkeeper for 20+ years and have never done a long division problem by hand during that time.

But will this hinder her in later math?

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Making careless errors will hinder her. ;) Can you have her do some problems by hand and some with the calculator?

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My DD is doing algebra this year. I haven't let her use a calculator up to this point. Recently, I have started letting her use a calculator for some 2 and 3 unit conversion problems and area problems that have larger numbers. I ask her to write down the calculation she is entering so that if there is a mistake she can figure out where she went wrong.

Margie

Edited by socalmom
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I have her do all of the problems by hand at this point. I'm thinking maybe just have her ask me when she wants to use the calculator, then I will just hand it to her and retrieve it after.

The careless error thing has been ongoing. On her pretest for this year, she missed ZERO on the more difficult section and SEVERAL on the "easier" section, all because of careless errors. :glare:

She has gotten better because I bait her with only doing some of the problems if she gets them all correct, and having to do them all if she misses any. But on the long division, it's like her ADD steps in and she can't seem to focus all the way to the end of the problem.

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During the years I taught math, I noticed that many students get so wrapped up in a new concept that they 'forgot' to be careful during the simple math.

What I have my dc do is learn the concept using the calculator, if necessary. Then after I know the concept is learned, have them do some problems without the calculator.

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I began allowing my 7th grader to use a calculator for the longer problems. As someone said, at some point, it becomes a hindrance in learning the bigger concepts.

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Do you have a slide rule?

In Physics (where we did lots of conversions like this), we had to use a slide rule the first semester. Then we were allowed to use a calculator the second.

But using the slide rule forced us to figure out ahead of time an approximation of what size of number we are expecting to see. It is a REALLY useful skill to have.

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