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Sorry I didn't introduce myself before. My name is Roxanne DiTrolio.
I teach seventh grade math in Seekonk, MA. I started this course a few
weeks ago. This is my second course in the Learning Math series.
In conversation with a science teacher in my building, the topic of
measurement came up. He said that many of his students are having
difficulty with precision. They seem to be content with measurements
that are "about right" or "close enough." When a measurement
falls between two values, students do not extend the measurement value
or carry out to the next place value. Instead they round to the nearest
After thinking about what he had said, I realized that many of the
activities students work on in math require students to round when
measuring or recording values. They are trained to shorten or simplify,
rather than to extend.
As a follow-up to the conversation, I asked my students to come up with
examples related to the importance of precision in measurement. We
talked about the Hubble telescope and the recent Mars mission. This was
a good lead-in to a measurement activity in which students were asked to
be as precise as possible.
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