If your son has been told he needs a graphics claculator then the teacher who said he needs is an idiot. I have a degree in Engineering and a master and am currently doing a PhD. The graphics calculator is only good as a shorthand and almost makes the student complacent and forget the fundamentals of mathematics. i suggest he carry on doing long handed. I used to have one and spend a little over £100 for it, but i used it to check my work before it was stolen :(

If your son has been told he needs a graphics claculator then the teacher who said he needs is an idiot.

I'm not saying you absolutely have to have one, but if it's allowed in the exam why wouldn't you use one, even if it's only to check? When I did my A-Levels I was sold a calculator by the school itself! You'll be at a disadvantage if you don't have one and everybody else does simply because when it comes to the exam you're basically competing against them to see who can do better. If you spent over £100 on one then that probably wouldn't have been allowed in an exam any way, one's that can do symbolic calculations like integrals etc. aren't allowed.
To answer the OP's question I used a Sharp EL-9900, but it's best to check with the school first, because if they recommend a certain one that's the one they'll teach everybody to use, so it's best to have the same one for obvious reasons!

If your son has been told he needs a graphics claculator then the teacher who said he needs is an idiot.

I'm not saying you absolutely have to have one, but if it's allowed in the exam why wouldn't you use one, even if it's only to check? When I did my A-Levels I was sold a calculator by the school itself! You'll be at a disadvantage if you don't have one and everybody else does simply because when it comes to the exam you're basically competing against them to see who can do better. If you spent over £100 on one then that probably wouldn't have been allowed in an exam any way, one's that can do symbolic calculations like integrals etc. aren't allowed.To answer the OP's question I used a Sharp EL-9900, but it's best to check with the school first, because if they recommend a certain one that's the one they'll teach everybody to use, so it's best to have the same one for obvious reasons!

I argree, but which teacher is going to check the spec of the calculator and accept/reject each and everyone? I remember when i was at uni the graphic calculators had just come out a few years ago and no one checked or cared whether your calculator could work out integrals or could run the 100m sprint!! the fact is as much as we need claculators we must learn to live without them...... but to use it as a checking tool i agree with......but how many other students use it primarily for that?

I argree, but which teacher is going to check the spec of the calculator and accept/reject each and everyone? I remember when i was at uni the graphic calculators had just come out a few years ago and no one checked or cared whether your calculator could work out integrals or could run the 100m sprint!! the fact is as much as we need claculators we must learn to live without them...... but to use it as a checking tool i agree with......but how many other students use it primarily for that?

Perhaps I'm making assumptions here, but I'm guessing it was quite a long time ago that you did your A Levels? I did mine a few years ago and just finished a degree in Mathematics last summer. If I remember correctly I had to do six exams for the Maths A Level, and only one was non calculator. As I said the school itself sold me a calculator, and everybody bought one. The teachers expected you to have one. But they also knew what the regulations allowed in exams, and if you brought along a really fancy calculator for an exam, one that could do integrals symbolically for example, they would've taken it off you. As 99% of us had bought our calculators off the school, and they only offered two different models which they already knew were allowed in the exam, it really wasn't much effort for the teachers to check them beforehand. So yes, when I did my A levels the teachers effectively did check the spec of each one.
I think your original statement that "the teacher who said he needs is an idiot" is very unfair. Calculators are allowed in the exam, and like it or not, the job of a teacher nowadays is to maximize exam marks, so teaching students how to use their calculator is part of it. Simply put if two students of a similar skill level enter an exam, one with a calculator and one without, who's most likely to make a silly mistake under the pressure? You may not agree with it but that's how it works.

CamoChris, my rant is not about the teacher pushing for the use of calculators, i think the calculator is a great tool. My real problem lies with the teaching curriculum and the ofsted report compiled. Its mainly teacher of the secondary schools and some of the colleges who do not comprehend the fundamentals of maths and science who are then brought to a privilaged stop to divulge their knowledge to the next generation. If these teachers are unable to show the working principle of the sums pre-calculator how do you expect the childred to learn. It is become the norm for students (from primary school) to get hem ready for exams without teaching the truth behind the maths and the use for it. Ask many people the use of integrals and differentials and they will say "i dont know, its just what we were tought". Very few were tought the use for this, and this is why i came out with my comment, though now i do feel it was some what harsh.

Anywa, congratulations on your mathematics degree...... what was your dissertation on?

I can see your point Rupz, and agree in many ways, but I didn't think your original comment really answered the OP's question, the link you provided probably helped though. When I was taught we definitely were shown how to do everything by hand before doing it on our calculators, and taught about the link between integrals and the "area under the graph" and how that relates to problems in physics and stuff like that, though I appreciate not everybody has good teachers. Also you must remember that some students don't really want to know the deep meaning behind why something works. I would guess that most A level Maths students go on to do other subjects at university where Maths is more of a tool than the actual area of study, and thus are perfectly satisfied with just knowing how to do something and not really caring why it works. As you're an Engineer I'd guess you've probably met a few people like that, someone who got into engineering to build bridges and tunnels and other things but who didn't really like Maths that much. For those types if the calculator were used less, and if topics were covered more in depth, it would probably put them off the subject somewhat. For those who want to learn more there's always the Further Maths A level, and a Maths degree afterwards!
To answer your question, I didn't have to do a dissertation, just a load of exams, all of which were non calculator! That's not to say that I didn't use a calculator at all during my degree though, when working through homework sheets I'd quite often use a calculator, or more often a computer program, to do tedious things like multiply together large matrices or to find roots of polynomials and factor them, stuff I could easily do but didn't want to waste time doing. Indeed doing stuff like that was encouraged by most of the lecturers I had, as the tedious things detracted from what they were actually trying to teach!

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(6) Jump to unreadPost a commentSee link for help, but i used to have a sharp (didnt have it long enough to remember the model number) http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=448909

I'm not saying you absolutely have to have one, but if it's allowed in the exam why wouldn't you use one, even if it's only to check? When I did my A-Levels I was sold a calculator by the school itself! You'll be at a disadvantage if you don't have one and everybody else does simply because when it comes to the exam you're basically competing against them to see who can do better. If you spent over £100 on one then that probably wouldn't have been allowed in an exam any way, one's that can do symbolic calculations like integrals etc. aren't allowed.

To answer the OP's question I used a Sharp EL-9900, but it's best to check with the school first, because if they recommend a certain one that's the one they'll teach everybody to use, so it's best to have the same one for obvious reasons!

I argree, but which teacher is going to check the spec of the calculator and accept/reject each and everyone? I remember when i was at uni the graphic calculators had just come out a few years ago and no one checked or cared whether your calculator could work out integrals or could run the 100m sprint!! the fact is as much as we need claculators we must learn to live without them...... but to use it as a checking tool i agree with......but how many other students use it primarily for that?

Perhaps I'm making assumptions here, but I'm guessing it was quite a long time ago that you did your A Levels? I did mine a few years ago and just finished a degree in Mathematics last summer. If I remember correctly I had to do six exams for the Maths A Level, and only one was non calculator. As I said the school itself sold me a calculator, and everybody bought one. The teachers expected you to have one. But they also knew what the regulations allowed in exams, and if you brought along a really fancy calculator for an exam, one that could do integrals symbolically for example, they would've taken it off you. As 99% of us had bought our calculators off the school, and they only offered two different models which they already knew were allowed in the exam, it really wasn't much effort for the teachers to check them beforehand. So yes, when I did my A levels the teachers effectively did check the spec of each one.

I think your original statement that "the teacher who said he needs is an idiot" is very unfair. Calculators are allowed in the exam, and like it or not, the job of a teacher nowadays is to maximize exam marks, so teaching students how to use their calculator is part of it. Simply put if two students of a similar skill level enter an exam, one with a calculator and one without, who's most likely to make a silly mistake under the pressure? You may not agree with it but that's how it works.

Anywa, congratulations on your mathematics degree...... what was your dissertation on?

To answer your question, I didn't have to do a dissertation, just a load of exams, all of which were non calculator! That's not to say that I didn't use a calculator at all during my degree though, when working through homework sheets I'd quite often use a calculator, or more often a computer program, to do tedious things like multiply together large matrices or to find roots of polynomials and factor them, stuff I could easily do but didn't want to waste time doing. Indeed doing stuff like that was encouraged by most of the lecturers I had, as the tedious things detracted from what they were actually trying to teach!