Within the set-up of a secondary classroom, children age 11, 12, 13 the use of a calculator should be seen as the support to a full understanding of the “concept” at hand. By times, the focus should not be held on finding the answer within the different operations +, – ,x and / .
It is the isolation of the difficulty that makes the difference. The difficulty is what the focus needs to be addressed on.
It is important to make clear what the concept is, that is to be learned. If the children do work on percentages; that should be the focus .
Yet if he answer to the problem is more important than the way of operation, why not let them use a calculator?
That will lead to less frustration in their process to understand the process of operation, the way of conducting the problem.
Ideally the children do know their facts, yet, as we all know, that’s the ideal scenario and that is never the case, because all children are different.
To use a calculator is, hence, unconscious repetition of these facts. That allows the child to fully focus on the “concept” that is introduced.
Tools are made to support one’s weakness, to allow full participation during the activity.