Saturday, 15 October 2011
In 1976 I was 7 years old. For my birthday, my parents gave me my very first calculator - a Detson E406. It was as big as a Samsung Galaxy Tab, as thick as the Tesco Direct catalogue, and I thought it was magic. You clicked it on with a proper on-off switch and on the display appeared bright numbers of blue light. They were so bright that I often used the number 88888888 to illuminate my books under the bedclothes.
The other part of my present that year was a book. A book of puzzles, games and exercises to help me find out how to use my calculator. It was thanks to this book that I discovered the art of calculator spelling. I think most people of my generation have experienced the sniggery delight of typing 5318008 into a calculator then turning it upside-down to read a certain naughty word.
For the last few days I have been finding out about Key Stage 2 Maths, as in 6 days time I will be delivering some training to secondary MFL teachers on Literacy and Numeracy. While looking at a list of KS2 Maths vocabulary, I came across a list of calculator terms. This made me think of calculator spelling, and I got very sidetracked. I need to blog it to get it out of my system and make me concentrate again!
I wondered if calculator spelling existed in other languages, and I'm pleased to be able to report that it does. In Spanish it even has a proper name - Calculogramas. It struck me that these would make cool little target language exercises that would promote numeracy in the MFL classroom, as well as dictionary and other skills.
Have a go at these:
Aujourd'hui il fait du (220681 + 493024).
Ma meilleure copine s'appelle (277461 + 73612).
Je ne suis pas Français. Je suis (9934.5 x 4).
J'ai une nouvelle robe en (621 x 5).
Me gusta jugar al (372902 x 19).
Tengo (5 x 1027) años.
A mi novio doy muchos (41436 + 9102).
Un vaso de limonada sin (12 - 11.2686) por favor.
There are more ideas for French here and Spanish here. Apparently there are some German examples too, but, as I don't know any German, I'd recommend you use 379009.
UPDATE 31.10.11: I have added a Calculogramas worksheet to my website - click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.