Posted by: jwhiff | July 25, 2018

Uncovering the Story Behind Each Number List

Each number list is paired with a corresponding list that provides it with context and meaning.  There are lists of people, countries, animals and objects, for example. Once the kids know the basic topic, numbers and unit, they need to properly match the corresponding lists.

You have a choice to either provide the kids with the randomized list directly after the unit has been revealed or make them play for it a little longer.

If you choose the second option, you need to get them to create a preliminary list on their own.  For example, if the kids know that the numbers represent highest country populations, they then work together to generate lists of possible countries first.  I like to provide my students with maps that they can interpret here.  Great for the geography skills.  Be careful not to let them on their devices, however!  Too easy to cheat :).  I would print one out, use an atlas or project one on the board.

If you choose the first option, know that I always include a couple of extra bogus items on each list.  They should eliminate these first.  Again, play for points.  Then, they need to match up each item with a number. They should work in groups of course and sometimes they will still need help in the form of a map or a bit of extra information.

Time to compare results!  How close did they come?  It would be great if your expert created a flashy powerpoint for this stage.  Assign positive points for every correct match and negative points for every mistake.

Once the real list is revealed and kids have had a chance to see how close they came, they can dig into the story a little further. For example, once the kids know the GDP of various nations, they should be introduced to wealth sharing percentages. It creates a fuller, more complex picture. They should have a chance to ask and wrap their heads around possible answers. Why are there two completely different lists for the top 10 box office earning movies of all time? Why are civilian casualty numbers for World War 2 rounded to the nearest thousand? How did they determine world populations ten thousand years ago? They say that numbers don’t lie, but how can we trust them for sure?

These are all interesting and important questions. Stoke your students’ enthusiasm the best you can during this phase. Pay close attention to conversations, mining them for insights and questions. Be curious yourself. This is my favourite part and will be your’s too.

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