Succeed with maths – Part 1
Succeed with maths – Part 1

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Succeed with maths – Part 1

2 Getting to know your calculator

In the following activities you’ll start to learn how to use your calculator. You have plenty of options when it comes to what calculator to use. You may find it easier to use the one that you are most familiar with, maybe a calculator on your mobile phone, your computer or tablet, an online calculator, or a handheld calculator.

Let’s start with a calculation that you can check in your head to make sure your calculator is working properly. Click on or press the following keys:

You should get the answer 7! If you didn’t, have another go now, being careful with the numbers that you enter.

Once the calculation is complete, it needs to be cleared before the next calculation can be performed. You clear a calculation by clicking on the button. Do this now; your last calculation should disappear.

Now you’re ready to do arithmetic on your calculator in the next activity. You may find Table 1 helpful in finding the correct button or key if you are using a computer keyboard.

Table 1 Arithmetic on your calculator

Mathematical operationCalculator buttonComputer keyboard key
+Shift and ‘=’ on the main keyboard or ‘+’ on the number pad
‘−’ (the key to the left of ‘=’) on the main keyboard or on the number pad
×Shift and ‘8’ on the main keyboard or ‘*’ on the number pad
÷‘/’ on the main keyboard or on the number pad
ClearBackspace (as often as needed to clear all entries)

Activity 2 A few arithmetic problems

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

In this activity, you are going to do several straightforward calculations to make sure that you can get your calculator to work properly. Check the answer in your head so that you know what your calculator should show. Remember to clear the calculation before you enter each new calculation.

  • a.5 + 20
  • b.100 – 99
  • c.2 × 4
  • d.10 ÷ 2


Your calculator should have given the following answers:

  • a.25
  • b.1
  • c.8
  • d.5

How did that go? Hopefully you found it fairly straightforward. There will be plenty of chances throughout the eight weeks of the course to become more confident using a calculator.

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