**Calculator activities**

Theses were
developed with BRAC primary schools in mind but could be the basis for
activities in any classroom where there is only one calculator** **

Each school will have one simple strong solar powered calculator and a set of activity sheets either in booklet form or printed on separate sheets.

**About the Materials**

The activities are designed to

- Help children learn on their own how to use the calculator starting with the four basic operations.
- Encourage problem solving skills
- Encourage children to talk about how to do mathematical problems in groups
- Help them use the calculator to check answers
- Help them use the calculator to improve their mental mathematics and skills of estimation
- Learn more about large numbers by using the calculator
- Learn more about decimals by using the calculator
- Learn about the connection between decimals and fractions using the calculator
- Practice reading
- Practice using Hindu Arabic numerals
- Allow children to work without the direct interference of the teacher

Book 1 (click to go to Book 1)

A1 Learning to add on the calculator Introduction to +

A1 Learning to multiply on the calculator Introduction to x

A1 Playing with the calculator Simple introduction

A2 Place Value Activity to help understanding of place value

A3 Doing Division on the Calculator Introduction to division

A3 Make 99 Mental addition practice

A3 Target Addition 1 Using calculator to practice mental addition

A3 Target Addition 2 Using calculator to practice mental addition

A4 Missing Signs Problem solving using operations

A 4 Pick Pairs

B1 Checking with the calculator Using division to check multiplication.

B1 Getting to Know Your Calculator Fractions to Decimals

B2 Divide by 10 Mental skills of division by 10

B2 Fractions on the Calculator Equivalent fractions

B2 Guessing Game Estimating Multiplication

B2 Multiplication Puzzle Mental estimation

B3 Multiplication Challenge Finding missing figures, estimation, deduction

B4 Odds and Evens Result of x odd or even?

B4 Quick Mental Addition Estimation, rounding off to get answers mentally

C1 The Magic of 101 Multiplication patterns, deduction

C1 Fraction Fun Using the calculator to compare fractions

C2 Multiplication with Decimals Equivalent multiplications

C2 Multiplying Decimals Estimation and counting decimal places

C2 Mystery Multiplication Problem solving involving estimation/deduction

C2 Some Strange Division Recurrent Decimals

C3 Magic adding constant Simple programming on the calculator

C3 Mystery Problem with Brackets Estimation, deduction

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

**Notes**

The materials are often in the form of stories. In some of the activities I have written Neena and Hamid are doing an activity or playing a game. This is so the rules are explained in a friendly and simple way. Please make sure the language is simple and clear when you have translated them. The materials are also to be seen as supplementary reading so you may want to check with language group.

There are usually more keys on the calculator than we need at the primary level, in particular the square root key, the memory keys. Theses are not used in the activities.

The calculators of course use Hindu Arabic numerals not Bangla numerals. This will make the activities harder for the children

Teachers may like to try the activities in Refreshers before they are given to the children. However the main idea of these activities is that they will be done by the children on their own.

Children will discover for themselves how the calculator works. The activities will give guidance. The Teacher does not need to tell the children anything. Calculators cannot be broken by pressing the wrong keys! They provide a wonderful opportunity for experimental learning.

**Using and managing
the activities**

This will not be easy. Most BRAC work is based on whole class activities.

There is only one calculator per class.

The activities are for a group of 4 or 5 children to work with one calculator and the Activity Sheet

The activities are to be tried out in NFPE schools.

It may be a good idea to use several different types/makes of calculator so we can find out from the trial which are best.

**Suggested approach**

I suggest you give the materials + calculator to teachers in trial schools and just find out what they do with them. Build on the good practice of those who find a successful way to use the calculator and the materials. Don’t go in and tell teachers what to do. Lets find out what ideas they have themselves. This is an experimental pilot stage.

In the trial I would like you to find out by observing and talking to children the following;

- What do children think of calculators?
- Can the children do the activities on their own?
- Can they read and understand the materials with out help?
- Do the materials need to be made simpler/clearer/easier/harder?
- Can they do the mathematics without help?
- Do the activities promote group discussion and participation?
- Do they share the calculator in the group?
- Can they learn how to play the games without teacher help?
- What mistakes do they make when using the calculator?

And by observing and talking to teachers to find out

- What is teacher’s attitude to calculators?
- Does it change during the trial?
- Do they find efficient ways of making use of them?
- Do they use the calculators themselves for example to find answers so they can mark efficiently?
- What guidance/training would help teachers make good use of the calculator?

And about the calculators

- What design is best?
- Do the calculators get broken/lost/stolen?