Friday, October 9, 2009

Numeracy

"Numeracy is the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts. To be numerically literate, a person has to be comfortable with logic and reasoning. Some of the areas that are involved in numeracy include: basic numbers, orders of magnitude, geometry, algebra, probability and statistics." Quoted from Wikipedia HERE. I have become more and more concerned about this lack of ability in my students. Because of my concern, I "googled" the term and found a number of interesting items. I am posting some of those links below.

An essay by Lynn Arthur Steen of St. Olaf College - below is a quote from the essay.

Numeracy is to mathematics as literacy is to language. Each represents a distinctive means of communication that is indispensable to civilized life. Nevertheless, if persistent news reports are to be believed, both numeracy and literacy are in serious decline in contemporary U.S. society.

Despite great differences in structure and form, both mathematical language and natural language are powerful tools for description, communication, and representation. Numeracy is especially important for a nation expecting to compete in a global economy fueled by information technology. Whereas natural language is redundant, ambiguous, and concrete, mathematical language is concise, precise, and abstract. Full expression of our thoughts and visions requires the richness of both natural and mathematical language. Like yin and yang, numeracy and literacy are the entwined complements of human communication.

The National Numeracy Network:

About NNN
Our organization offers its members a network of individuals, institutions, and corporations united by the common goal of quantitative literacy for all citizens. Through national meetings, faculty workshops, research initiatives, and information sharing, the National Numeracy Network aims to strengthen the capacity of our country in the quantitative areas of business, industry, education, and research across all disciplines.

It looks as if there are a lot of resources out there. I am wondering how I can help my students develop skills in this area.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oct 2nd, 1970 - WSU Plane Crash

Tomorrow is the anniversary of a plane crash in Colorado that took the lives of WSU football players and others traveling with the team. Another plane containing the rest of the team successfully reached its destination. Read HERE for a good description of what happened that day.