Maths Resource of the Week 29

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Use of a Calculator Mathematical Treasure Hunt

  • A great way to test calculator skills
  • What is it? - There are few things I find more annoying in the world of maths teaching than students of all ages and abilities not being able to use a calculator. It comes to light when you go through a problem on the board and then dozens of hands shoot up accompanied by the heart-shattering sound of “sir, my calculator doesn’t say that”. A quick glance around the room reveals a sea of different calculators, some seemingly from some future age, some out of a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. And of course it is absolutely crucial that all students are competent in the use of their calculators. Your calculator needs to be your friend, I tell my students, as they realise that I am more of a geek than they first suspected. But it is true. If students cannot use their calculators correctly, then all the hard work that goes into deciphering a question and figuring out exactly what is required is wasted due to the absence of a bracket or a minus sign. Hopefully this excellent resource will go some way to smoothing things out.
  • How could it be used? - I love Treasure Hunts. Fortunately my students do too. In terms of preparation, all that is required is to cut out the cards and place them at various points around the classroom. Then pair up the students, make sure they are armed with a couple of calculators, start each pair off at a different card, and away they go! Any misconceptions will soon come to light when pairs students find themselves looking for an answer that doesn’t exist, and by placing them in pairs hopefully they can resolve the problems for themselves. This is a fun and wholly worthwhile activity.
  • How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.
  • Uploaded by nottcl

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