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Re: INNUMERACY, was Re: Use of Calculators



At 09:56 AM 2/25/97 -0800, you wrote:
>No one has mentioned the most pervasive calculator error students make.
>In their rush to punch numbers into their calculations they often forget
>to use ther calculators' memories. It is commonplace to see a student
>crank out an intermediate result in a problem, round it off and write it
>down, and then punch in the rounded value later on in the problem.
>
Agreed. I try to tell my students to "do the physics first, then do the
arithmetic."  Of course, I have objective evidence that they don't hear this
message!

And, how many times has anybody seen students entering a number in
scientific notation incorrectly?  (e.g. 8.99 X 10E9 instead of 8.99E9).  A
source of endless frustration tracking down loose orders of magnitude in
solutions, especially if there is a subsequent square root!

Another peeve is that they often discard without reading the manual and then
expect me to show them everything the calculator does.



George Spagna           **********************************************
Department of Physics   *                                            *
Randolph-Macon College  * And so some day,                           *
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