It is interesting to note that a lot of students from elementary school to college use calculators when solving mathematics problems. I am sad to say, that less than 1% know how to use a calculator efficiently. As a high school calculator coach and current tutor, I have spent about 36 years developing techniques for using a calculator efficiently. To illustrate what I mean I will explain how I would solve 3 simple problems.
Example 1: To solve – 29.7 + 85.4 most students solve it as it is written, yet if you use math knowledge this problem could be solved with less keystrokes if it were thought of as being 85.4 – 29.7.
Example 2: To solve (- .629)(- 55.2) most students work the problem as written. Since the product of two negatives is a positive, this problem should be thought of as being (.629)(55.2) which would save a couple of keystrokes.
Example 3 : To solve 7960/(5.28×3.14) most students divide the numerator by the product of the Denominator. To solve this problem more efficiently, you need to be aware that if the terms in the denominator are all factors, this problem could be solved more efficiently as follows: 7960 ÷ 5.28 ÷ 3.14.
Imagine if all teachers knew how to teach the efficient use of a calculator, students would learn more math knowledge, when applied to the use of a calculator could reduce the time spent solving problems. This could have a positive impact in the classroom on ACT and SAT, or in their careers. I have written instructional calculator workbooks that not only illustrate the efficient use of a calculator but how to solve word problems and geometric drawings.