Jamestown Public Schools sixth-grade math teachers recently met for training on scientific calculators with coordinator Denise Pusateri. The New York State Education Department now allows all students in grades 6 through 8 to use a scientific calculator on all three days of the NYS math assessment, which students will take in April. This is different from previous years when only seventh- and eighth-graders were allowed to use calculators on the last day of the assessment.
"The use of the calculator is not to excuse students from learning to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers and fractions," said Mrs. Pusateri. "These skills are still very important, however, even more important is the meaning behind the operations. A student needs to understand that multiplying is repeated addition. For example, 5 multiplied by 3 is 3 groups of 5 objects each, 5+5+5 = 15, 5 x 3 = 15 is just the short cut. Students in grades 6-8 are allowed to use the calculators because the numbers they will be using will be larger."
Addition and subtraction skills begin in kindergarten, while multiplication and division begin in third grade. The multi-digit multiplication, for instance 345 x 78, begins in fifth grade. In sixth- through eighth-grades, the standards are more interested in the application of real-life situations. Students will be asked to find percent discounts, determine sales tax, calculate averages, and find surface area and volume of objects.
Jamestown Public School’s math coordinator Denise Pusateri recently held an after school math training for new use of scientific calculators. Pictured are: David Digirolamo, Olivia Nelson, Shane Knapp, Karen Bjorkholm-Leeper, Patty Lefford and Jen Lachajczyk.
JPS provides the TI-30IIS calculators that students will use in school and on the exam. These calculators will not be allowed to leave the school, so if parents wish for students to use them at home, they will have to purchase their own. They can be found at any store that sells office supplies and range from $12 to $15.