First, I've lost Pam Meader's e.mail and if she's out there, would you please drop me an e.mail. I'll be in Maine for the summer (Bangor area) and if you're going to be around this summer, I'd like to come by and say hello.
Second, regarding numeracy/literacy, I gave my classes an ad from the local paper which advertised a "% off" sale. Previous to giving it to them I noticed that the advertised original and sale prices they listed didn't amount to the advertised percent off. I made up problems - e.g., is the advertised percent off correct? If not, what is the actual percent off based on the advertised original and sale prices listed? I then had them "purchase" something at the actual percent they calculated and then get an additional 15% off.
The point of my activity went way beyond what I had planned. They picked at the ad when the calculations were off and a discussion of false advertising ensued. Then the issue of what happens if they do advertise incorrectly but the computer-based cashier system takes 30% when the calculations we did gave us 35-38% (which was the case several times). Three people will test it out tonight when they go shopping since the ad I used contained items they had been shopping for. They will, they say, challenge the store if the receipt shows something different from the ad, and they intend to take the work done in class to verify the calculations.
The next class will be interesting! What's more, it's not just using math in the "real world" but the reality that they can verify information advertised, and get active about interacting with domains never before interacted with, based on stuff done in a basic math class. Now, that's empowerment for them and satisfaction for all ... later ... mark
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