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

Book 1††† (click to go to Book 1)

A1Learning to add on the calculator††††††††††††††† Introduction to +

A1Learning to multiply on the calculator†† †††††† Introduction to x

A1Playing with the calculator††††††††††††††††††††††††† Simple introduction††††††††††††††††††

A2Place Value†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Activity to help understanding of place value

A3Doing Division on the Calculator†††††††††††††††† Introduction to division

A3Make 99 †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mental addition practice

A3Target Addition 1†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Using calculator to practice mental addition

A3Target Addition 2†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Using calculator to practice mental addition

A4Missing Signs†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Problem solving using operations

A 4 Pick Pairs


Book 2

B1Checking with the calculator†††††††††††††††††††††† Using division to checkmultiplication.

B1Getting to Know Your Calculator†††††††††††††† Fractions to Decimals

B2Divide by 10††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mental skills of division by 10

B2 Fractions on the Calculator†††††††††††††††††††††††† Equivalent fractions

B2Guessing Game††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Estimating Multiplication

B2Multiplication Puzzle†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mental estimation

B3Multiplication Challenge††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Finding missing figures, estimation, deduction

B4Odds and Evens†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Result of x odd or even?

B4Quick Mental Addition†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Estimation, rounding off to get answers mentally


Book 3

C1The Magic of 101††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Multiplication patterns, deduction

C1 Fraction Fun†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Using the calculator to compare fractions

C2Multiplication with Decimals†††††††††††††††††††††† Equivalent multiplications

C2Multiplying Decimals††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Estimation and counting decimal places

C2Mystery Multiplication††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Problem solving involving estimation/deduction

C2Some Strange Division†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Recurrent Decimals

C3Magic adding constant†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Simple programming on the calculator

C3Mystery Problem with Brackets†††††††††††††††† Estimation, deduction


Book 1


Book 2


Book 3



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 theActivity 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. Donít 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;



And by observing and talking to teachers to find out


And about the calculators