RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
11-08-2022, 12:48 AM
Post: #1
 Matt Agajanian Senior Member Posts: 912 Joined: Dec 2013
RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
Hi all.

Had a thought:

Since order of operations is the foundation of mathematics, I’d think that since it’s so vital, teachers would strongly recommend RPN calculators because it forces the students to understand how order of operations works.

For example, since an RPN calculator does not carry out the hierarchy and manual problem statement and entry are key, it challenges students to enter the calculation in the manner in which order of operations dictates.

Plus, since calculations are immediately returned, the student can see where the mistakes were made. And with Last X, a student can recover from mistakes and either start over or pick up where they left off and try to enter the calculation in which order of operations dictates.

In addition, RPN also structures learning about using parentheses and how they affect calculation evaluation.
11-08-2022, 01:41 AM
Post: #2
 Garth Wilson Senior Member Posts: 570 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
I express one of my frustrations in this paragraph of the RPN operations page of my treatise on 6502 stacks ("stacks" plural, not just the page-1 hardware stack):
The argument in school calculators is "Algebraic lets you enter the equation just as you see it on paper!" Well, for one thing, a lot of programming work falls outside of actual equations. For another, even in the field of calculators, in real life we don't usually have an equation in front of us. I think through it, "Let's see—I need A, and then square that; now take B, multiply it by C and add that result to the earlier one. Now I need D raised to the power of E, and divide the earlier result by that. Done. Oops, no, I still need to take the log of that..." That's the way much of real engineering is. It's only in school that you get canned problems and have the equation in the book and you're supposed to just drop the numbers in the chute and turn the crank—then we wonder why we get graduates who passed all their classes and yet show a disconnect between that knowledge and any understanding of what the problem is in their circuit on the workbench! I've hired a lot of electronics technicians and a few engineers, and I gave all the applicants a circuit-analysis test with a dozen simple problems. Not one of them ever got it all correct. It was kind of frustrating.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
11-09-2022, 06:29 PM
Post: #3
 Maximilian Hohmann Senior Member Posts: 1,146 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
Hello!

(11-08-2022 12:48 AM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  Since order of operations is the foundation of mathematics, I’d think that since it’s so vital, teachers would strongly recommend RPN calculators because it forces the students to understand how order of operations works.

I don't agree. Teachers shoud not recommend any type of calculator and even less build their teaching around calculators. Instead, they should teach mathematics and calculus as if there was no calculator at all. Once the students have understood the basics and underlying rules they can use whatever calculator they want. It will make no difference. By now, a whole generation was taught mathematics without RPN calculators. The aircraft and bridges and sykscrapers they design (if engineering is their chosen profession) seem to work well, so the lack of RPN tuition at school does not seem to have any adverse effect!

Regards
Max
11-09-2022, 08:14 PM
Post: #4
 Matt Agajanian Senior Member Posts: 912 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-09-2022 06:29 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(11-08-2022 12:48 AM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  Since order of operations is the foundation of mathematics, I’d think that since it’s so vital, teachers would strongly recommend RPN calculators because it forces the students to understand how order of operations works.

I don't agree. Teachers shoud not recommend any type of calculator and even less build their teaching around calculators. Instead, they should teach mathematics and calculus as if there was no calculator at all. Once the students have understood the basics and underlying rules they can use whatever calculator they want. It will make no difference. By now, a whole generation was taught mathematics without RPN calculators. The aircraft and bridges and sykscrapers they design (if engineering is their chosen profession) seem to work well, so the lack of RPN tuition at school does not seem to have any adverse effect!

Regards
Max

At 56, I can say I fall for into your generation. Yes, in my math classes, you had to use your noggin. And I do agree with your point. I thought there would be a way this new generation could use calculators as a secondary or tertiary tool since they need to put their brain in gear first.
11-09-2022, 08:40 PM (This post was last modified: 11-09-2022 08:48 PM by floppy.)
Post: #5
 floppy Member Posts: 242 Joined: Apr 2021
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
Nice finding since I was reading the posts: https://cleverpedia.de/liste-der-zugelas...rttemberg/
It means, several calculators are released for degree in south-germany.
We see an HP35S. RPN.

So far I evaluate the teachers at such (not bad) schools: not paid enough, mostly maltraited from ruthless parents, could have more social recognition, not trained in informatic (low level of IT level) therefore unable to disclose the advantages of the several calculators. We should not overload them.

Since I have made a linux intallation course free of charge (2 day in the last months of the pre-last-class) for youth few years ago (they were approx 17), I will now suggest an introduction course for calculators for the newcomers (1h should be enough).

So, boys and girls, lets start a course training documentation covering the calculator types and we have to go to the schools.

Now this is an additional project (1 of xxxx on my ToDo list). The people will not accept our proposal? whatever, distributing the doc to the parents via the school management could be enough.

Remember: ONE soul going RPN is ONE soul more in paradise.. haha.

UPDATE: CRAZY (good).. the HP prime is allowed in Rheinland-Pfalz

HP71 4TH/ASM & Multimod, HP41CV/X & Nov64d, PILBOX, HP-IL 821.62A & 64A & 66A, Deb11 64b-PC & PI2 3 4 w/ ILPER, VIDEO80, V41 & EMU71, DM41X, HP75D
11-09-2022, 08:42 PM
Post: #6
 Maximilian Hohmann Senior Member Posts: 1,146 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
Hello!

(11-09-2022 08:14 PM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  At 56, I can say I fall for into your generation.

I'll be 60 in a few days time (hard to believe, I still feel the same as with 26 apart from the reading glasses ;-) ) so probably yes. The first ones among our classmates who chose to become mathematics and physics teachers are about to retire soon. As we had no RPN calculators during our own time at school, simply because here in Europe they cost three times as much as every other calculator and no parent would buy their children one, they probaly taught mathematics with no reference to RPN throughout their career.

Matt Agajanian Wrote:I thought there would be a way this new generation could use calculators as a secondary or tertiary tool since they need to put their brain in gear first.

The new generation does not use calculators at all. My son, who finished school five years ago, was part of an experimental group that got issued CAS calculators, a Ti Nspire in his case, very early - around the age of 11 or 12. The idea was to rid them of the burden of calculating themselves right away and free their minds to more useful tasks. The day he finished school was probably the last time he used a physical calculator. If he ever has to calculate anything again he will either use his smartphone or delegate the task to his tax adviser... And his Ti Nspire is now part of my collection of calculators :-)

Regards
Max
11-10-2022, 09:15 AM
Post: #7
 floppy Member Posts: 242 Joined: Apr 2021
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-08-2022 12:48 AM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  Hi all.

Had a thought:

Since order of operations is the foundation of mathematics, I’d think that since it’s so vital, teachers would strongly recommend RPN calculators because it forces the students to understand how order of operations works.

For example, since an RPN calculator does not carry out the hierarchy and manual problem statement and entry are key, it challenges students to enter the calculation in the manner in which order of operations dictates.

Plus, since calculations are immediately returned, the student can see where the mistakes were made. And with Last X, a student can recover from mistakes and either start over or pick up where they left off and try to enter the calculation in which order of operations dictates.

In addition, RPN also structures learning about using parentheses and how they affect calculation evaluation.
Forces? I understand what you mean but we should say "mission" the people, convince or explain.
We should overtake the role of explaining a RPN calculator. And we should overtake that task from the teacher (my opinion).
a) identify the target age (my first RPN was at approx 15; before only +-/= if I remember). If the calculator is expensive, then important money-stakeholders (parents, grand-parents) must be convinced or some arguments for them must be listed. = Target from 14 on and explanation for the investors in the family?
b) start a documentation explaining the 2 different systems "()=" and "RDN ENTER". Maximum 10 pages
c) give advice where it could be interesting to start RPN
d) at the end the manufacturer manual should be readen carefully
e) during start of the year in the school, go for 30min to the parent meeting and ask for 30min in a school course (go through the 10 pages, show the calculators, give the presentation to the children).

I have done it for a linux install on older PC. Took weeks of preparation/documentation.

HP71 4TH/ASM & Multimod, HP41CV/X & Nov64d, PILBOX, HP-IL 821.62A & 64A & 66A, Deb11 64b-PC & PI2 3 4 w/ ILPER, VIDEO80, V41 & EMU71, DM41X, HP75D
11-10-2022, 09:47 AM
Post: #8
 Massimo Gnerucci Senior Member Posts: 2,619 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-10-2022 09:15 AM)floppy Wrote:  a) identify the target age (my first RPN was at approx 15; before only +-/= if I remember).

I am sorry that you missed the multiplication key when younger.

;)

Greetings,
Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
11-10-2022, 03:12 PM
Post: #9
 C.Ret Member Posts: 230 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-10-2022 09:47 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:
(11-10-2022 09:15 AM)floppy Wrote:  a) identify the target age (my first RPN was at approx 15; before only +-/= if I remember).
I am sorry that you missed the multiplication key when younger.
It is only with age that the troubles and worries multiply!
11-12-2022, 12:01 AM
Post: #10
 JimP Member Posts: 104 Joined: Apr 2014
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-08-2022 12:48 AM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  Hi all.

Had a thought:

Since order of operations is the foundation of mathematics, I’d think that since it’s so vital, teachers would strongly recommend RPN calculators because it forces the students to understand how order of operations works.

For example, since an RPN calculator does not carry out the hierarchy and manual problem statement and entry are key, it challenges students to enter the calculation in the manner in which order of operations dictates.

Plus, since calculations are immediately returned, the student can see where the mistakes were made. And with Last X, a student can recover from mistakes and either start over or pick up where they left off and try to enter the calculation in which order of operations dictates.

In addition, RPN also structures learning about using parentheses and how they affect calculation evaluation.

You have a point, but I have to agree with some of the other posters here who recommend zero calculators until the mathematics are understood. Similar logic to software-based spell-checkers and grammar checkers: they are for people who can spell, not for those who cannot. Otherwise you'd have a bunch of led guitarists who boar people with they're musicality.

At the tender age of 13, I obtained my first four-functioned calculator (a Sinclair Cambridge -- yes, that was 1973). Prior to that we were permitted to use slide rules, which had the advantage of forcing us to understand significant figures (only three could realistically be used with slide rules) and for us to use common sense. One math teacher, to his credit, admitted once having used a slide rule, in his youth, to multiply by ten! Beyond that, we were instructed in the use of log tables, trig tables, and other tools such as "Oh, Sah, Coat" (a mnemonic to help us remember the relationships between sines, cosines, tangents, and the three sides of a right triangle). But we were not allowed to use calculators in exams, not even until later years in college and graduate school (the latter of which required zero calculus since I'd gone into a field not needing it). Statistics and linear regression, however, became useful tools, and operations of calculators providing those functions and more were well worth understanding.

But I do support your idea of recommending RPN -- in my sixties, this old dog's tricks are hard to displace with new ones, and having gotten used to RPN 30 years ago it might be harder to learn how to deal with other systems.
11-12-2022, 03:45 PM
Post: #11
 DGM Member Posts: 62 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
My first calculator was a Texas Instruments SR-10 in college, but I had an uncle in California who has an HP45. I was jealous. My second one was an HP 25. I was out of college by then.

Also, my high school math teacher taught us SOHCAHTOA for the trig relationships, but we are Americans who put things in MMDDYY order.
11-12-2022, 08:32 PM
Post: #12
 Matt Agajanian Senior Member Posts: 912 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-12-2022 03:45 PM)DGM Wrote:  My first calculator was a Texas Instruments SR-10 in college, but I had an uncle in California who has an HP45. I was jealous. My second one was an HP 25. I was out of college by then.

Also, my high school math teacher taught us SOHCAHTOA for the trig relationships, but we are Americans who put things in MMDDYY order.

Me as well. SOHCAHTOA is still ingrained in my brain.
11-12-2022, 10:05 PM (This post was last modified: 11-13-2022 12:57 PM by floppy.)
Post: #13
 floppy Member Posts: 242 Joined: Apr 2021
RE: RPN calcs should be a teacher’s recommendation
(11-10-2022 09:47 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:
(11-10-2022 09:15 AM)floppy Wrote:  a) identify the target age (my first RPN was at approx 15; before only +-/= if I remember).

I am sorry that you missed the multiplication key when younger.

Multiplication thoughts started and did not end.
;-)

And I see few of the boys went behind any recommendation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eB2s-a5HI4
So, the teachers should not be overloaded with recommendations. We should step in.

HP71 4TH/ASM & Multimod, HP41CV/X & Nov64d, PILBOX, HP-IL 821.62A & 64A & 66A, Deb11 64b-PC & PI2 3 4 w/ ILPER, VIDEO80, V41 & EMU71, DM41X, HP75D
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