Guidance paper: the Use of Calculators in Teaching and Learning Mathematics

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This guidance paper, produced by the National Strategies, provides guidance on how calculators can be used effectively as a teaching and learning tool with children in all age groups starting from the foundation stage.

The revised 2004 Framework for mathematics includes objectives that promote the use of calculators as a tool for calculations. These objectives span Years Four, Five and Six as the use of a calculator is embedded within the National Curriculum Key Stage Two programme of study for mathematics.

Evidence from the analysis of the scripts from the statutory tests at the end of Key Stage Two shows that children are unsure about when and how they might use the calculator. They are not clear about using calculator methods or recording their method. However, in the context of exploring numbers and the number system, the calculator can be used with other age groups as a teaching and learning tool.

The paper also gives an overview of calculator skills which need to be mastered in Years Four, Five and Six as the Key Stage Two programme of study states that children should be taught to:
*use a calculator for calculations that involve several digits, including decimals,
*use a calculator to solve number problems,
*know how to enter and interpret money calculations and fractions,
*know how to select the correct key sequence for calculations with more than one operation.

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