# Emergent number sense, maybe…

Posted on March 30, 2016

Pre-algebra class has a ‘project’ about calories and running and losing weight.   When it works (and it does, often), students get nice practice reading carefully … and busted if they fall into “make it look like the one before,” because the one before said you ran 2 miles a day, and this one says run 22 miles per week.   Yes, I make a point of noting that running 22 miles a day would be a little bit unusual, eh? And how paying attention to things like that helps you notice important details?    What I like even better about this assignment is that there are three different scenarios and by the third one, the students are paying more attention and noticing that when you do that things go a lot faster ’cause you don’t have to do the problem three times.   Making a mistake and correcting it works gobs better if you then get a chance to *not* make the mistake, and do things correctly a few times.

Not one, but two students did question the “sense” of an answer … I guess that’s a good thing, eh?   Well, not really, when they were using the calculator to divide 698,033 by 1000 and thought it didn’t make sense because “the answer is the same.”   (I believe the calculator is one that has commas.)    Yes, we talked through the way dividing by numbers like 1000 could be done without the calculator because dividing by 1… but I couldn’t help but recognize that this wan’t “number sense,” it was “worksheet sense.”   The answer shouldn’t be the same…