Calculator Features

It was a beautiful spring morning and my class was in the Chemistry lab. While the students were carrying out their activity I approached one of them and quietly slipped a calculator to him. I whispered, “John, I want you to pretend this is yours and take it with you when we go outside. This will make sense later.” He agreed and I moved on.

I should mention that the calculator was broken and hadn’t worked for years. I kept it in the lab bench and it was waiting for a day just like this day.

As the activity was winding down I spoke, “Class, isn’t it a beautiful morning? Tell you what, how about we go outside and do our final calculations while enjoying the fresh air. Bring your calculators.”

We walked down the back stairwell and met on the grass. The students gathered around me.

OK, to start off I will do a sample calculation for you. John, may I borrow your calculator?”

He handed me the calculator. I continued, “Wow, that is a nice calculator. A TI-83, very nice. TI-83’s have a lot of Whee in them. ………. Class, you do know what I mean by Whee, right?”

I was met by blank stares. A number of them were shaking their heads.

Oh you tech-savvy teenagers. You think you know everything, but I guess you don’t. Are you familiar with the terms RAM and ROM and CPU when it comes to computers?”

Most nodded and said that they did.

OK, then. When it comes to a calculator, one way to measure its capability is by its Whee capacity. Let me demonstrate.

I stood out in front of them. I grabbed the top of the calculator by my right thumb and forefinger. I brought it to left side of my waist. I recoiled my upper body to the left. I then quickly twisted my upper body back to the front and flung the calculator outwards across the lawn. When I did so, I shouted, Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee … in a high pitched voice.

When it landed I said, “That calculator has about 30 yards of Whee capacity. Nice.”

I didn’t think to count how many jaws had dropped.

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2 thoughts on “Calculator Features

  1. I love this one! I remember when you did this to our grade twelve Chem class and one of the students bought right into it like he knew what you were talking about being all tech savy, great story.


    1. Hi Reece,
      I probably did this 10 times during my career. The nice thing about changing schools as often as I did was that I could keep doing the old gags. I did it one time at BRHS in the Physics lab. The calculator hit the wall and smashed into pieces. I got their attention that day.


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