From the time beads were threaded through string to represent numbers to the modern calculators currently in use, man has always worked with numbers. Mathematics is a standard class for students everywhere around the world. With the invention of sophisticated programs that work calculations in a fraction of a second, it is no wonder that children in school learn much more in a shorter amount of time. As far as modern wonders go, the calculator will always be central to every technology that comes of age.

## Benefits

It is easy to recognize some of the benefits of calculators. The algebra student who has 10 equations to complete as an overnight homework assignment doesn't have to use a notebook full of paper and 4 hours to solve them as in days gone by. An average graphing calculator will help him learn the proper steps to arrive at the solution easily. As math advances, the age at which students are expected to know mathematical sciences will keep getting younger. Thankfully, the calculator will also have to advance. The benefit of calculators will be the key in their success.

## History of

Man once used strings and beads as a crude calculator. Graduating from that, they went to combinations of gears to spit out the answers. Now the calculator is as much a part of society as a cell phone. In fact, most cell phones have calculators built right in. However, to be fair to disciplines across the board, the history of each type of calculator can be as different as the calculators are themselves. In addition, the power source for the calculator has a history that starts as a manually operated one to the modern solar-powered calculators.

## Type

The calculator is a universal tool. Knowing which one to get is the challenge. A simple 10-key will do for household budgets and elementary schools. A scientific calculator will help the middle school student, and a graphing calculator is necessary for high school and college. Each type mentioned will have various designs that are rated by the number of functions they do. For high school and college students, a rental program may be available since these calculators can be expensive.

## Evolution

The idea that numbers can drive some people crazy was the necessity that was the mother of inventing the calculator. Primitive calculators were knots in strings, beads threaded onto strings, balls on wires and even triangles with rows of numbers on them. The real breakthrough didn't come until the seventeenth century, but the technology of the calculator has grown exponentially since. As it continues to grow, expect it to evolve into even smaller calculators that will do a larger number of functions.

## The Facts

Just as it was before cell phones, there was a time when algebra was done by hand (and brain). Here are three facts about different types of calculators that you should know. First, math is a combination of four functions; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. All calculators perform these functions. However, when variations of these four functions were needed, the simple calculator lost its luster. Second, with the various types of calculators available, you must understand some of those variations to choose the right calculator. Third, not every calculator is equal. The functions of a 10-key calculator will not allow you to quickly figure the volume of a cylinder. Some might say the number one fact about the types of calculators is the fact that we can't do without them.