Sunday, February 24, 2008

Running the Numbers

I came across this website from the blog of another Bay Area math teacher. Students (and Americans in general) have a hard time conceiving what large numbers actually represent. The numbers get so huge that eventually there's no difference in our minds between a million and a billion. Congress approved another million for whatever? Why not a billion? The impact of poor number sense has a huge impact on this country.

The pieces on this website, besides being aesthetically, offer concrete representations of statistics that are difficult to connect with. I'm hoping to bring this into my class somehow when we do scientific notation in April. I can also see the benefit everywhere from elementary school when kids are learning large numbers for the first time all the way up through college level statistics classes. It's never too early or too late to develop a strong number sense--and a strong sense of social justice.

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