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20 October 2014
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Using a calculator - lesson plan

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A calculatorTo become familiar with using a calculator and specific keys

National Curriculum

Ma2, 3k.


You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to access the PDF files. BBC Webwise has a complete guide to downloading and installing Adobe Acrobat reader.

Teaching activities


  1. Give each child or pair of children their own calculator. Shout out a few quick-fire sums for them to complete so that they become familiar with the keys.
  2. Project the Bitesize calculator revision bite onto the whiteboard. On page one, ask the children to locate each key shown on their own calculators. Discuss how these keys might be used.
  3. Work through the three remaining revision bite pages. Spend time on each page and allow the children to use their calculator to experiment with examples.


  1. Demonstrate the Bitesize calculator activity using the whiteboard. Show the children how to use the buttons on the calculator.
  2. Once the children understand how to use the activity, ask them to take it turns to work through the rest of it in small groups or pairs on the class computers.
  3. Ask the lower ability group to complete a range of calculations based on money. Ask the middle ability group to complete a range of calculations converting fractions to decimals. Ask the higher ability group to complete a range of calculations using brackets.


  1. Put a long word problem on the board that involves money and different operations (eg Sam gets £1.23 pocket money every day except Sunday, when he gets £0.50. How many weeks will he need to save to buy the latest computer game that costs £30?).
  2. Ask the children to work out the problem using a calculator, writing down their process on their whiteboard or jotter.
  3. Choose one or two pupils to explain their processes at the end of the lesson.


  1. Ask the children to complete the Bitesize calculator quiz or the Using a calculator worksheet (PDF 49KB).
  2. Ask the children to play the Cross the Swamp multiplication game.


Give the children several word problems that require the use of a calculator.

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