A Calculator License!

Hi friends!  It's Amanda from Teaching Maddeness.

We're nearing the end of our regrouping unit and I always have a love/hate relationship with it.  I LOVE the fact that my students are so stinkin' excited about solving equations with such big numbers.  I HATE the careless mistakes that come along with it.


I wanted a way to encourage my students to go back and check their work - to use the strategies I've taught them.  They KNOW how to solve these equations, but those darn careless mistakes were killing them!  How could I get them to slow down and really apply the strategies?  How could I get them to really care about checking their work for perfection?

The answer was simple - a calculator.

I told my students that once they were EXPERTS at these types of problems, they would be able to use calculators in class.  I mean, I use a calculator when I do my work to speed up the process so why shouldn't they?  Of course, I don't give these to them in the beginning.  But after they've learned the concepts and mastered the skills, they are rewarded.....with a calculator license!

How does this work?  I give students 5 math problems per day.  These math problems include 2-digit and 3-digit problems.  The problems are written horizontally on the paper I pass out.  This requires students to rewrite the problems vertically (stacking the ones on top of the ones, tens on top of the tens, etc) to solve.  These problems are also mixed addition and subtraction problems.  Yep, earning that cursive license is tricky and only the experts will succeed!  If students solve all 5 math problems correctly for 3 days in a row, I declare them experts and give them a license to create.

Once a student's license is created, I laminate it and tape it to his/her desk.  The entire class instantly knows that this person is a math expert and has permission to use a calculator for future math problems.  They eat it up, I tell ya!  Those careless errors suddenly start to disappear as students are so motivated to become a license holder!


You can grab my calculator license freebie from my shop!  It includes the license I use, along with the problems I use to certify them as experts!  Enjoy! :)


  1. This is such a nice blog for me. Really amazing and very informative blog. thanks for sharing.



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