Saturday, 22 May 2010 | 0 Comments
In the NSW Mathematics Syllabus students are to learn about “rounding numbers to a specified number of significant figures” [NS5.2.1].
Having a teacher in the Maths faculty trained in another subject area, has helped us think about how we explain certain topics. “Significant figures” is a good example. Here is my, I think simple, explanation as to why we might round to a certain number of significant figures, rather than just rounding to 1 or 2 decimals places.
Say you had measured the length of an ant, and found it to be 0.0013 metres long. [Aside from the obvious, that you would use another unit of measurement] Ask the question, what numbers in this measurement are important or significant. If we were to round 0.0013 to 1 or 2 decimal places (0.0 and 0.00 respectively) we lose all the usefulness of this measurement. So, when recording some measurements, we will keep the digits of that measurement that are important, i.e. significant.
You could go with a more complicated explanation, but this simple example, allows you quickly draw an ant on the board, and the students get this simple example.
New Subscribe to the …MathsLinks
Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
MathsClass is about teaching and learning in a maths classroom. more→
MULTIPLICATION BY HEART: Visual Flash Cards… Kickstarter now live!
maths multiplication timestables
Introduction to the A* Algorithm
maths networks shortestpath dijkstrasalgorithm
GeoGebra Geometry App: Beginner Tutorials with Lesson Ideas – GeoGebra
maths geogebra tutorial
Mark Kaercher on Twitter: "Planning to use paper plates and fuzzy sticks to investigate circle segments & angles. There are 72 ridges in the plate. So I punched holes six ridges apart, making nice angles for exploring. #MTBoS #iteachmath https://t.co/