Construction calculators help students develop applied math skills
Tools to make teaching easier and more effective
By Mike Greenan
Calculated Industries (CI), a long-time partner of NCCER’s, provides specialty calculators to NCCER training programs throughout the country that teach Core Curriculum, Carpentry, Electrical, HVAC, Masonry, Pipefitting, Millwright and Ironworking. Based in Carson City, Nevada, CI introduced the first version of its construction-math calculators 30 years ago. In the early 2000s, the company started its education initiative with real estate calculators, but it soon became obvious that construction crafts were about as applied-math intensive as it gets.
“Craft professionals who used our calculators in the field were transitioning into management positions in the industry or beginning second careers in teaching,” said CI Vice President Mark Paulsen. “Initially, they came to us, saying ‘The Construction Master calculator made my job so much easier. It would be a great way to teach applied math to folks going into the trades.’ So we started contacting schools with carpentry and construction management programs, and it just took off from there.”
Once educators and trainers became aware of the craft-specific benefits of using the calculators to help their students develop applied- math skills, they asked for tools to make teaching easier and more effective. CI created emulator programs that allowed instructors to show the actual keystrokes on a screen or white board while the students used the calculators. CI also developed a workbook and study guide for classes using the Construction Master Pro calculator.
One large company that uses the NCCER curriculum and CI’s products is TIC – The Industrial Company. TIC uses the calculators in several different training programs, including pipefitting and industrial carpentry. Fernando Sanchez, who works for TIC in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, says, “Being the only company in the country to provide the kind of training we do for our craft employees, we have very high expectations for them, and we train them to be the best at what they do. As pipefitters, we have a responsibility to be precise and accurate in our jobs, and we trust our calculators to help us accomplish the heart and soul of our craft – math. Calculators help our students get the motivation and necessary skills to become great journey-level pipefitters.”
Like NCCER, CI is a long-time sponsor and supporter of SkillsUSA. For the last two years, CI has donated Construction Master Pro calculators to both the carpentry and masonry national competitions that NCCER sponsors. The students were allowed to use the calculators during the competition and keep them afterwards.
CI offers four types of calculators for construction craft training. The Construction Master Pro and Construction Master Pro Trig calculators include craft-specific functionality, built-in calculations for stairs, roofs, rafters and framing and have full trigonometric functions. The Pipe Trades Pro calculator also has full trigonometric functions and is used by pipefitters, sprinkler fitters and welders to calculate angles, bends, slopes, cutbacks, offsets and flow rates. The ElectriCalc Pro calculator solves electrical calculations that conform to the National Electrical Code, and it calculates Kirchhoff ’s Law, Ohm’s Law, wire and conduit sizes, motor full-load amps, parallel resistance and integrated voltage drops. The Tradesman Calculator is used to teach or learn applied math, including right triangle math, trigonometry, circles, arcs, ratios, proportions, hexagons, polygons and fractions.
Organizations like Kiewit Infrastructure, Buckeye Career Center in New Philadelphia, Ohio, Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City and Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia, along with countless numbers of NCCER Accredited Training Sponsors, craft trainees and craft professionals have found CI calculators to be invaluable tools in their training, development and everyday task performance. For more information on CI calculators, visit www.calculated.com.
About the Author
This article was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2015 edition of NCCER’s The Cornerstone magazine (http://www.nccercornerstone.org/publications/publications-archive). This content has been republished with the permission of NCCER and the publisher.