[Numeracy 379] Re: Innumeracy

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Barbara Caballero barbaracaballero at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jun 7 17:40:40 EDT 2010

What a great article!

When flipping a coin, my father used to say, "Heads I win, tails you lose."  I still get confused! 

Numeracy is not just being able to understand the math concepts and visualize the problems and solutions; we have to train ourselves to have a healthy dose of skepticism and curiosity, plus the desire to spend the time and energy to work through the lingo and protect our interests. 

Instead, we trust.  We are in too much of a hurry.  The people who stand to gain will purposefully complicate transactions and apply unrealistic rules and deadlines.  We get overwhelmed.

In terms of looking at a complicated math-related issue and breaking it down to something understandable:
I had my class listen to a podcast from Planet Money (NPR) in which an economist explained how the price of illegal drugs might change if these drugs were legalized.  My students first predicted how prices would change - some said up, some said down; then we listened.  Then we reviewed the points that the economist made.  My purpose was to expose my class to economics vocabulary while listening to a topic that held their interest.  It was a good class.  To me, it was a math-related class. 

Another recent Plant Money podcast offered an understandable explanation of toxic investments.  I'm thinking of drawing a flowchart and having my class listen to the podcast.  Could be good.

Not a math teacher, but a fan of numeracy,
Barbara Rotolo-Caballero
GED and ESL/GED transition instructor with emphasis on reading and writing

From: Dianna Baycich <dbaycich at literacy.kent.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Mon, June 7, 2010 3:33:04 PM
Subject: [Numeracy 378] Re: Innumeracy

Scarey but true! The two “scams” that seem to affect our adult literacy and GED students the most are the Rent to Own stores and the Payday lenders and checkcashers. To compound the problem of “innumeracy”, many of the adult literacy and GED teachers I know say they are reading people, not math people, but are expected to teach math to their students. Some programs are lucky enough to have math teachers teaching math, but not all. What kinds of things can  be done with our limited time and funding?
Dianna Baycich
From:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Denney, Brooke
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 11:27 AM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 377] Innumeracy
Happy Summer Everyone!
It seems that the list is once again quiet.  Therefore, I thought I might create some discussion about an article that I recently came across by Bob Sullivan.  It is an excerpt from his book, “Stop Getting Ripped Off” (2009) which talks about Innumeracy and the epidemic we face by being an innumerate society.  Here is a link to this excerpt: http://stopgettingrippedoff.net/Innumeracy.htm   I found this information to be surprising.  Let me know your thoughts.
Brooke Denney, Moderator
Math & Numeracy Discussion List
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