Introduction - Module 1 - Module 2 - Module 3 - Module 4

Numerical Literacy

While the Internet provides huge databases which could fill spreadsheets as large as a football field, it does little good to visit such sites unless they know how to "crunch" the numbers, interpreting the huge databases with mathematical tools and reasoning. We must teach them to recognize the questions that reside within such data collections along with the skills to pose and explore such questions.

It is not enough to gather information. Students must know how to interpret the information.

How Bad is the Weather?

There are many aspects of weather that might influence the choice of a town or city as a new home. Pick 4-5 of the following, enter them on the top row in a table using MS Word and then compare the following towns and cities based on the criteria you selected. Which one comes out best when you consult the actual data? Click here for MetService.

Rainfall mm mean annual
Wet days >1.0mm
Sunshine hours mean annual
Temp Mean Max Jan
Temp Mean Max Jul
Temp Mean Min Jan
Temp Mean Min Jul
Temp Extreme Max
Temp Extreme Min
Screen Frost days
Ground Frost days
Wind mean speed km/h
Gust Days >93 km/h

Auckland, Albert Park
Rotorua Aero
Hamilton, Ruakura
Gisborne Aero
Wellington, Kelburn
Nelson Aero
Christchurch Gardens
Dunedin, Musselburgh
Invercargill Aero

Back UP Activity

1. Go with your partner to the New Haven County and then open a second window in Netscape (from FILE menu) and go to Fairfield County - Connecticut County Data available from the US Census. Adjust the two windows so the numbers line up side by side for comparison purposes.

2) Use the information about these two counties in Connecticut to decide which one you might prefer as a place to live: Fairfield County or New Haven County? Write your choice and your reasons in your learning log.

3) Which are the most important numbers? Why? Could you chart them? How would a chart help to crunch the numbers? Which numbers are missing here that would have helped you make a choice?

4) In your learning log, write your thoughts about the following: What does it mean to "read" numbers? How does a spreadsheet help us to read them?


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