Calculator project with lesson plan:

Moran, Melanie (2008). Journal of experimental child psychology: calculators okay in math class, if students know the facts first. Medical News Today, Retrieved February 10, 2009, from

SUMMARY: In this article, Moran explains the information found in a case study done at Vanderbilt University.  It found that students have had success in using calculators for computation purposes.  In fact, students who already memorized basic math facts improved in mathematics.   Students, who did not have a strong foundation of basic arithmetic skills, also showed improvement by using calculators.  This is only true whenever students performed on subsequent tests.    
           However, the observation of a third grade class shows that it is not always a good tool.  The research found that students became more dependent on calculators for easy multiplication facts when they did not know them from memory.  Whenever students knew all basic computations, the students only used the calculator to check work; it became a sort of a game for the students to use a calculator that way.  Having students check work also gives the students direct feedback into how much he or she knows about the certain math problem.   
           As I read this article, I could not have agreed more.  I always felt that students should know basic facts by heart.  It makes computing more abstract problems like algebra and geometry easier.  From my experiences in the classroom, I see that most struggling students are always grabbing for the calculator to work out problems like 12+5. In that case, the students would need to work on basic facts so he or she will have more ease on mathematics.  I feel that students need to know these basic skills to become a better person and easier to be employed.
I also think that using calculators for immediate feedback is imperative for some learners.  With a class of 25 students, the teacher can not stop and grade 25 math problems instantly.  One thing that I would stress to students is that it is an aide not an answer provider.

Name: Erin McNally

Title of Unit: Patterns in many ways

Title of Lesson: Calculator pattern puzzles

Grade Level(s): 3rd Grade

Type of Content: Concept

Strategy: inquiry-based

Goal: Understand basic number patterns using calculators

Objective(s): 1.determine basic math calculations using a calculator (Cognitive-Application) 2. create number patterns using calculators and describe how the student came up with it(Cognitive-Synthesis) 3. Demonstrate proper calculator use coming up with multiplication facts patterns (Cognitive-Application)

PA Academic Standard: Mathematics Apply number patterns (even and odd) and compare values of numbers on the hundred board. 2. 2.2.3.F. Determine the reasonableness of calculated answers.

Formative Assessment: 1.chalkboard/ notebook unison practice

2. poster display with descriptions

3. oral presentation

Rationale: It is important for students to understand the basic concepts of how to use a calculator to visually see how multiplication facts form patterns. If students can make a connection to the pattern to the facts, then the facts will be learned easier.

Content Knowledge Calculator usage with basic facts

2,4,____,8, 10,12,____, 16

Number patterns

-10, 20, 30, 40,_____50, 60,70,_____80,90,_____ 
- 0,6,12,___,24, ___36, 42, ___56, 60

Procedures: Lesson Beginning( Introductory review) 1. Today in class we are going to work on our multiplication facts using patterns. Instead of using our pencils, we are going to make them using our calculators. 2. Let’s have the first person in every row grab a calculator for each person. Focus: 1. Give students time to explore the calculator on their own. 2. Demonstrate students how to work a calculator using this example problem. Lesson Development (Present content/skill) 1. Now that everyone has had a chance to figure out some ways in using the calculator, let’s try to fill in the blank spots by trying to figure out using our calculators. 2. “Punch” into your calculator 10x1. What happens if your punch in 10x2…. Try up to 10x10 and record your information. 3. Let’s try one more before I let you go. What do you think we should try first to solve this problem? 4. Since we are working on our times tables, What number should we start with?(have students give some suggestions) 5. (if students do not guess 6)Let’s try and punch in 6 x a number. (Involve students) 1. Now that we see just experienced a fun pattern, get with your buddy. 2. Your groups’ job is to make up your own number pattern using the calculator. 3. I want you to grab a piece of poster board and make a quick display of your pattern. 4. On the back I want you to write how your pattern works. This will include the solution to your pattern (Provide practice and feedback) 1. Once everyone is finished each group will go to the rest of the groups and see if they can figure out the pattern that they are trying to make. I will also try to figure out your number pattern. 2. Remember we are working on our multiplication facts so stick to only using the “times” symbol. 3. If you like the pattern and figured it out place a +. If you thought it was okay and got the correct answer put a check. If you did not like it place -. This will help me Lesson Ending Review and Closure: 1. Now that everyone has tried to solve everyone’s fun patterns, I want each buddy group to come up and explain the problem and how to solve it. 2. Before we leave, I have a worksheet that has steps to write how to work a calculator. Preview of Next lesson: N/A


20 TI-108 calculators 20 pencils 20 worksheets 20 blank pages Poster board


Holsten, Allison Calculator pattern puzzles. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from Columbia Education center Web site:


Whole Group, Partners, Individuals

Special Adaptations:

-Make   patterns easier for these students 

- Give students a multiple to start off with(like 7 times tables)

Anticipated Difficulties:

-The   calculators will run out of battery 

- Students will hit the wrong symbol to get the wrong answer -Students may get frustrated if they cannot figure out the problem

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