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Have you ever considered sharing real life math mistakes with your students? I don't usually. I talk about reading mistakes and writing mistakes. I model those mistakes all the time. Why don't I share math mistakes? I'm thinking it's important to share math mistakes. It shows our students reasons for thinking mathematically in our lives. It gives math a purpose for learning. It models the application of math in our daily living.
When I think about making math mistakes, I'm not thinking about calculation errors. That's easy and they will probably catch on to those. I'm talking about real life applications of math where my stomach is grumbling 24 hours later because I didn't spend my money wisely and my garden is a few plants less.
I was at a local hodge lodge of a store yesterday where grocery store meets hardware store meets Target all rolled into one. It's a unique store here in Central Ohio and I was thrilled to be in their garden center. I was trying to carefully plan out my flower boxes that go around my deck handrail. Last year I changed up my usual plan, increasing the different kinds of plants I wanted which increased the expense. While I thought I was carefully planning out how many plants I exactly needed I over spent because I missed the flat price discount! I could have spent four dollars less and had 12 more plants. I actually found a spot for 12 more plants and have considered taking my receipt back and asking for forgiveness.
That might not work out for me but what will work out is sharing a small slice of my "numbers" life in hopes of inspiring my students to think about how they use math outside of the school day to avoid math mistakes.
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