QAMA is one of those brilliant products that you will wish you invented. It stands for, “Quick Approximate Mental Arithmetic” and also happens to mean, in Hebrew, “How much?” This is a very appropriate name, then, for a special kind of calculator that makes you work for your answers. Instead of immediately giving you the solution to an equation, QAMA is programmed to give you the answer only when you enter a close estimate. On the page where the Aim of QAMA is described, it is explained that, “The QAMA calculator should not be seen as an aid for occasional estimation practice sessions: Students should each have their own QAMA calculator so that they use it routinely and exclusively – every time they perform a calculation: in the math classes, science classes and labs, and also at home: It should become second nature to always engage their head when performing calculations.”
One QAMA calculator is $19.60. You can use the calculator in 2 different modes – as a “regular” calculator, or in EST mode. Teachers (and parents) can easily see which mode the student is using, as there is a blinking light that shows when the EST mode is turned off.
I think that QAMA is a wonderful idea. Honestly, I would like to see an app developed that would work the same way. This gives students the opportunity to use technology while they continue to develop their own problem solving skills.