Jan 13
What Does that Number Mean?

Dear Sibylla Kiddle School Families,

People seem to have a love/hate relationship with the language of mathematics. I fall into that category of loving numbers. Statistics tell stories and graphs feed my need for information. Then there are those who bristle when it comes to mathematics and prefer to avoid it at all costs; someone else can do the taxes or reconcile the bank account!

There is one aspect of mathematics you probably use every day, often without realizing it. This is in the area of data interpretation. You are interpreting data when you look at the weather forecast and make a decision. When you look at the cost of a menu item at the restaurant and compare it to the cost of another item, you interpret data. Driving down the road trying to locate an address you have never been to, you use numbers to interpret which side of the street to look at and which direction to point the car. Data interpretation lives in virtually every number you come across.

Supporting the skill of learning data interpretation is something you can do at home, even if you don’t love numbers. When making a meal, have your child develop a time management plan with you for when something needs to go in the oven in order to eat at 5:30 PM. When looking at the weather forecast for the day, have your child decide what clothes would make the most sense. When walking the freezer aisle at the grocery store, which ice cream is the best deal? For younger kids, that decision may be price. For older kids they may consider variables such as size, total discount or quality. The language of mathematics impacts all of us on a daily basis, there is no need to hate it. In fact, you can leverage it as a meaningful learning opportunity for your child.

Brad Emery


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