As we all know, the best way to strengthen a skill is through practice. Here are some fun calculator games for supporting calculator usage. There are some really good ideas for elementary students, and you can strengthen students' understanding of the four operations at the same time!
If you are going to use calculators in class, it is important for students to know how to use them correctly. Here is a lesson plan, complete with an attached worksheet, you can use to introduce your younger students to calculators.
If you are doubtful about the appropriateness of calculators in elementary schools, check out this article. It explains how calculators should be used with younger students (for instance, to check their answers when estimating), as well as research that supports their use.
This video investigates the role of calculators with students who may have learning disabilities. The explanation for why and how calculators should be used is thorough and easy to follow. After watching this video, I actually started using calculators in my differentiation plan.
Here is an excellent example of using a calculator as a tool rather than a crutch. In the provided classroom exercise, students come to understand a concept, but use the calculator to help with the computations. The result is a lesson that is rich in learning, but not long in duration.
This article discusses the results of a study. This research found that, once a student grasps a concept, calculator use does not affect their achievement level. There is an excellent suggestion to allow students to use calculators to check the answers they arrived at through mental computation: an excellent way to incorporate both methods at the same time!
Starting with a conversation about the pros and cons of calculator usage, this article delves in to how to find a good balance between mental computing and calculator usage. There is also a section with suggested uses towards the end of the article.