. .
. The
"Basic"
(dumb)
Calculator
. .
.

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If you rely
heavily on a
basic
calculator when
working with
numbers,
it's
important to be
aware of what
calculators
actually
do.

A basic
calculator
("dumb
calculator")
will
only
do what
you tell it to
do ,
whether
right or
wrong .
Any calculator
(including a
"programmable"
calculator) is
nothing more
than a machine
which completes
its functions
automatically -
like a small
robot.

Think of it in
terms of this
*simple
analogy:*

If you use a
light switch to
turn on the
lights in a
building, the
lights come on
when the switch
is turned to
"on".
If you turn the
switch to
"off",
the lights go
off. It always
works that
way.

Now suppose the
building is
full of
explosive gas
because of a
gas leak. When
the light
switch is
turned on, the
building will
explode.

The simple
switch
mechanism will
not protect you
from a possible
explosion. The
switch goes on
when you turn
it on, no
matter
what.

You could call
the light
switch a
"dumb
light
switch"
because it just
does what you
tell it to do -
nothing more or
less.

That is
why
basic
calculators
are called
"dumb
calculators".

Unless a
calculator
automatically
takes into
account
"PEMDAS"
Order, it will
give you an
*incorrect
answer* if
you have made
logical errors
in your
reasoning . . .
*using the
calculator to
perform a
series of
calculations in
the wrong
order*.

No calculator
will protect
you from
yourself. Every
calculator will
do exactly what
you tell it to
do - no matter
what.

Students
ultimately fail
when they use a
basic
calculator
("dumb
calculator")
to avoid
learning the
principles of
arithmetic.

*Single-step
arithmetic
problems*.

Basic
("Dumb")
calculators
always give the
correct answer
for simple
one-step
problems
involving
addition,
subtraction,
multiplication,
and
division.

Often students
will get in the
habit of using
calculators for
all their
computations,
beginning at a
very young age
. . .
frequently with
the
encouragement
of parents, or
the local
school
system.

They grow to
believe (trust,
have faith)
that
calculators
will always
give them the
correct
answer.

*Multiple-step
arithmetic
problems*.

Multi-step
computations
associated with
algebra and
advanced math
courses often
involve long
chains of
numbers,
brackets,
exponents, and
fractions.

When
completing
multi-step
computations,
students who
rely heavily on
basic
("dumb")
calculators
begin to
arrive at
incorrect
answers on a
regular
basis .
This even
occurs when a
student's
problem solving
logic and
mathematical
approach are
100%
correct
.

The underlying
problem . . .
the student
lacks an
understanding
of basic
arithmetic.

These students
routinely state
that their
answers are
correct because
they used a
calculator.

Read over the
following
examples. Keep
in mind that a
calculator is
nothing more
than a machine.
It is up to the
machine
operator to use
it correctly.
It is up to the
user to
understand what
a calculator
actually does
depends on how
each number is
entered.

Evaluate
the
following
expression

Incorrect
Solution

Correct
Solution
- *"PEMDAS"
Order*

Evaluate
the
following
expression

Incorrect
Solution

Correct
Solution
- *"PEMDAS"
Order*

Evaluate
the
following
expression

Incorrect
Solution

Correct
Solution
- *"PEMDAS"
Order*

Evaluate
the
following
expression

Incorrect
Solution

Correct
Solution
- *"PEMDAS"
Order*

Evaluate
the
following
expression

Incorrect
Solution

Correct
Solution
- *"PEMDAS"
Order*

Free
Calculators
Download
or
Use
"Basic"
Calculators
on-line
for
Free

http://www.moffsoft.com/freecalc.htm

http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptcalc.asp

http://www.easyfreeware.com/free_calculator-3149-freeware.html

http://www.calculator.org/jcalc98.html

http://download.cnet.com/Multi-Calculator/3000-2053_4-10873861.html

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