Thursday, May 29, 2014

Introducing the Calculator

In our math program we're asked to introduce the calculator in kindergarten. We did that today. If you want to follow up at home, I suggest you use counters to work simple addition and subtraction problems and then check the work using a calculator. Work within your child's existing level, aiming for easy problems, not hard ones. Remember our intent at this point here is to introduce the calculator, not explore the outer edges of what they might know about arithmetic.

In this "take-away" example, illustrated below, Kaden starts  his subtraction problem with 10 counters.

10 sticks to start with. He counted the sticks and entered 10 on the calculator.

Take away 7 sticks.

Entering "take away"

(take away) 7

Here, Kaden counts the remaining sticks of which there are 3

And he presses the "equals" button to check the answer he got by counting the sticks.

 Most six year old children benefit from doing problems like these "hands on" by which I mean using actual counters and moving them together (for addition) and apart (for subtraction) and getting their answers by counting. The calculator is a fun way to check their work.

If you have a tablet computer, consider using one of the free calculator apps instead of a regular calculaor. They're bigger and brighter.

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