On January 29, I spent the morning with the grades 5&6&7 class at Quilchena thinking about numbers in the news. We connecting this idea to our study of infographics and how numbers can be used to inform, persuade or evoke emotion in us. We wondered how headlines might use numbers to pull us into a news article and how we can use numbers to make sense of the world around us.
We began by asking the students what their sources of news were. Many replied hearing it on the radio when they were driving with their parents. We shared sources of both local and national/international news.
We then shared some different current headlines with the students and asked them to analyze them with the following questions:
We then invited students to choose a current event that they were interested in, either local or global, and to find a news article about it that included the use of numbers, whether it be quantities, measurements or percentages.
The students investigated their news articles individually or in pairs or triads. The events of most interest to the students included the wildfires in Australia and the recent plane crash involving Kobe Bryant.
The students shared their findings at the end of their time together and compared data from different sources.
The COVID-19 virus outbreak was just beginning to be a focus in the news and some students were interested in learning more and chose this as their current news. Who could have ever predicted at the end of January what this would have meant for us here in Richmond and all the mathematical modelling that has been involved with our public health guidelines in the province?