I know I'm old-fashioned, but I made mine use their heads all the way through to Algebra II~ I have worked with too many kids who couldn't add up a guest's check for a short stack and a cup of coffee to allow mine to be so mathematically inept! When I was waitressing, I could add up a check for a party of 6 people AND calculate the tax and hang the ticket ahead of all the girls who were waiting in line for the calculator! I would agree with Tambi's husband, I guess.
When they have to do long algebraic equations with lots of decimals, then they can use the calculators because what they are learning at that point are the formulas and not the basic math. When I took Statistics in college last year, we had to learn to use the fancy graphing calculator and that was very complex; however, I asked the teacher to show us how to do it manually (so that we could see the formulas on the board) so that I could understand WHY we were getting the answers. Just inputting information into a calculator and having it spit out an answer didn't help me to understand Statistics. The answers don't mean anything if you don't know how or why you're getting them. That's not education, IMO
I think the reason so many people hate Math is they've never gotten a good grasp of the basics, nor understood the "why" of it.
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