Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2005 15:14:32 -0500

Author: David Willey

Subject: calculators


Well, at least it's good to know it's not just me. I've been teaching
Physics for 30 some years now, and have never needed more than a
calculator with trig functions, yet all my students are required by an
engineering prof. to buy graphing calculators. Never mind that they're
clueless as to how to store a value in memory, etc. My "Required
Materials" list has been amended from including "a calculator with
trigonometric functions" to "a calculator with trigonometric functions
and knowledge of how to use it". I didn't used to set homework in lab (3
hrs in lab for 1 credit hour seemed enough.) These days though I set
uncertainty calculations as homework, and each student has to get a
homework perfectly correct before they pass my lab. If they don't get it
right, they get handed another. I haven't had to flunk anyone yet, but
I've had students get to HW#8 before getting it right. The upside is
that exams scores improved significantly after this "zero mistakes
tolerated" procedure was adopted,
P.S. and I'm sick of them pulling out a calculator to find out what 7X8

>>One of my pet peeves right now is trying to show college students how to do
>>elementary arithmetic on a $100+ calculator.
From Mon Feb 7 15:31:04 2005