Calculators have become a staple in every classroom across America. There isn’t a time that the newer generation can think of without calculators. The more we advance in school, the more complex the calculator becomes. Calculators are usually used in mathematics classes, but there are also many other kinds of calculators we can use in our everyday lives. These can range from complex devices, like scientific calculators to simpler and fun ones, such as an online calculator for determining your weight on other planets.
What is a Calculator?
A calculator is an electronic device that is used to assist in solving various mathematic problems. It can be used for problems including simple elementary school mathematics as well as complex calculus. Some calculators are run on batteries, while others can be solar powered. Almost all calculators used today are electronic, except for the abacus which is still used in some schools around the world. A calculator can also have many uses beyond mathematical problems.
Why are calculators useful?
Concordia University‘s website lists some ways that calculators are extremely useful. Learning to use a simple calculator exposes and teaches kids to use technology. Learning how to use one will assist them in all sorts of daily future activities, such as making a budget or doing taxes.
They are also useful to those who do not especially find mathematics enjoyable. There are many fun ways to use a calculator, and it makes solving a math problem much faster. Lastly, it improves accuracy. While humans can calculate within their minds, there is always the possibility for error. Checking your answers on a calculator will increase accuracy in your answer.
History of Calculators
Calculators and the act of calculating are over 10,000 years old. Obviously, electronic calculators were not used 10,000 years ago, but other instruments were, such as an abacus. At Mortgage Calculator. their timeline goes as far back as 12,000 B.C., when the Sumerians calculated on clay tablets. In 3,000 B.C., the Babylonians created the abacus, and its use was later spread to Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Asia. Around 250 B.C., prime numbers were calculated with a method called the Sieve of Eratosthenes. This algorithm method would later be used for modern day computers.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, various machines were built to calculate mathematical functions. It wasn’t until 1961 that the first electronic calculator was created. From there, calculators quickly evolved to handle more complex problems and included new features like LCD displays and solar-powered devices. This all led to our smartphones which are able to handle calculating mathematical problems. If you have a smartphone, you also have both a simple calculator and a calculator able to handle calculus and trigonometry equations.
Mathematical calculators are the most commonly used devices. Almost every classroom from elementary school to college math courses uses some form of calculator. A simple mathematical calculator allows you to solve simple plus, minus, multiplication, and division problems. At Math.com, they have an assortment of mathematical calculators to explore.
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Scientific calculators are more complex than the basic mathematical calculator. These types of calculators were invented by Hewlett-Packard in the 1970s and became the first handheld scientific calculators. These are made for subjects like trigonometry, calculus, and physics. These devices have functions like Sin, Cos, 1/x, and x^2. You can visit this demo scientific calculator to get an idea of what they look like and the functions they can perform. Most likely, you will be asked to purchase a scientific calculator for classes in junior high school and above.
For more information, visit:
- Iowa State: Scientific calculator contributions by Thomas Whitney
- Hewlett-Packard: Hewlett-Packard museum of calculators
Calculators are not limited to mathematical or scientific equations. These devices can be used for a variety of things, such as weather. Weather calculators can be used to convert temperature and find wind speed, heat index, and dew point. Midwestern Regional Climate Center has a variety of weather related calculators to try out and calculate several variables in your local area. Most weather calculators are to help people understand weather and the details of a weather forecast.
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There are also calculators for time. Do you want to know how long it will take to travel somewhere? You can estimate that on a calculator too. Time calculators can change days to minutes and those minutes to seconds. You can also use them to determine the time between two dates or how many seconds are in several hours. Before you go on a flight, you can calculate the time and distance with this calculator at the MIT website.
For more information on this topic, go to:
- Just Stand: Sitting time calculator
- Duke University: Date and time calculators
- Gocek: Elapsed time calculator
Cooking calculators are used to determine weight, measurement conversions, and cooking time in relation to weight and volume. For at-home chefs, cooking calculators are indispensable. Most are available online or on a smartphone. These calculators can be valuable when cooking large meat products like turkey or roasts. You can find out the oven temperature and cooking time that is best for your meal’s size. You can also calculate proportions for guests and cut a recipe in half or double it.
To learn more, visit:
- Gourmet Food: Cooking conversion calculators
- Exploratorium: Cooking calculator
- Culinary Schools: Cooking calculator
- Fooducation: Egg cooking calculator
You can also use calculators for health. You can calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index), how many calories you burn exercising, and your heart rate. Try to calculate your BMI at Kid’s Health. This is associated with a healthy weight for your size. At Baylor College of Medicine, you can even calculate how many calories you consume in a day. Health calculators are a great way to keep track of your health.
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Money calculators are very important tools that can help you with various money-related issues. You can calculate how much you need for a loan, how much you want to put into savings each year, or how much interest you will accumulate over a period of time. Money-smart kids can benefit greatly from the array of useful money calculators on the internet.
To access a few of those money calculators, visit:
- The Mint: Savings calculator
- Investor: Interest calculator
- Smart About Money: Financial calculators
- Mapping Your Future: Money calculator
Calculator Games for Kids
The best way to learn a new technology is to play games. Some games can be played right on a basic pocket calculator while others can be played online. You can play games on your own or with friends.
For some great games, visit: