Numbers

It’s it fascinating that a number can mean the world. Just some dumb symbol can make or break you. They are everywhere.

“How did you do on your math test?”
“Oh, I got an 89.”

Does that even remotely answer the question. Had the asker wanted a number they would have stated, “In which percentile did you score on your mathematics examination?” but instead, the true purpose of the question was to identify how the test taker thinks he or she performed on the given task. A simple “I did very well” would suffice.

Now I know that this sounds ridiculously nerdy, and believe me, I know it is, but I am this way because of numbers. They are everywhere! I feel like I am being followed, like some freaking horror film (I see numbers. They are coming for me. You’re next.) It’s almost scary (well it is) how much I am surrounded. For instance, my favourite sport/pastime baton. How many numbers do you think I encounter at baton? Well, let me tell you, it is a lot, now that I think about it. To start off, I twirl a 30″ baton, I have size 8 shoes, my competition tights are suntan 305 (or some other number), my class begins at 6:30, I have to do one hundred thumb flips on all four hands, I use 5 hair elastics to make my bun in my hair, I twirl with 6 other girls, I am the oldest by one year, my coach has taught for 56 years, when counting the music we count in sets of eight, I choreographed 8 8’s on Saturday, when being judged I score 6.5-8.8 on average, it is ranked out of ten, I place first/second/third/etc., and the list goes on…

Scary isn’t it? Look to your left. Tell me you don’t see a number. I dare you. Hidden in everything is a number, whether it be a bar code, the height of a table, the number of times you have or should have dusted last month, the number of grams/milligrams/ounces/whatevers on a bottle, the date you purchased something, a note you wrote with a friends cell phone number, or just plain old addition/subtraction bed sheets (not that my brother ever had those – not going to lie, I want them now), not to mention the thread count on those sheets.

Are you scared yet? I know I am, but here’s the thing – my life revolves around numbers. Besides being a preservice math teacher, I am a number addict. Everything has to have numbers. [Not to point out irony in the making or anything, but my brother just came home and my mom is chopping something out. I hear my brother crunching, then my mother exclaim “Hey! Those are counted!” I’m assuming “those” refers to carrots or something, but needless to say, this proves my point. And, just to go off on a tangent, the general retort to “Hey! Those are counted!” is “Well then, subtract one.” Works every time.]

Back to my point,  numbers are attached to everything. Do you have a bank account? Holy, but there is a ridiculous amount of numbers in there! You have a PIN, an account number, a balance, transaction numbers, branch numbers, credit card numbers, cheque numbers, a number of bank accounts, and I really could go on!

Even people have numbers! My student number at LeBoldus was 36001277. I have another student number at the U of R, I’m five foot three, I have ten toes, eleven fingers (actually just ten, but I have a cyst on my left wrist that swells and looks like a stub, so I’ve deemed it my eleventh finger), I have a cell phone number (finally), I take five classes at the U of R, I teach for 10-15 hours every week, I have an alarm clock in my room, I have a three calendars, I own two pairs of dress slacks, my iPod has 452 songs on it, on a scale of one to ten my mood is about an 8 right now, and I can get even more ridiculous and nit-picky if you want.

I’m not trying to scare anyone off, but numbers are like dust: they are everywhere and no matter how hard you try to get rid of them, they will hunt you down, especially if its electronic equipment. I read somewhere that electronic equipment gets dusty twice as fast as regular wood furniture. Now, not to bring up numbers or anything, but a computer is based on numbers, base two to be exact: 00001 01100 00111 11110 11111 is what the computer understands. Crazy isn’t it?

Now, after all this, I am not saying that numbers are bad. Good lord, they are AMAZING. Who would have thought that some Arabic dude a bazillion years ago was scribbling and decided that two stacked loops would be an eight and it would mean that you had a pile of sticks that looked like |||||||| (<– that). All I have to say is way to go, who ever you are!

Anyway, the time is 5:43, and I am done my first rant about numbers.

Not add irony, but my mom just poked her nose in the door and asked me to empty the dishwasher… by six o’clock.

PS. I just found this video. It’s amazing. You most definitely should watch it.

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9 thoughts on “Numbers

  1. Wow, I’ve never thought about numbers that way. They are pretty amazing aren’t they? Kind of makes the case for math, and the importance of us math teachers. lol. I’m definately a numbers addict to. To the point of counting stairs as I take them. I guess when you are surrounded by numbers you can’t help but notice them.

  2. Interesting post. I love the way that you find a video that helps validate points in your blog.

    The power of text video and pictures bring math to life. Thanks for commenting on my students blogs. I hope that you are seeing the power of the web in a math classroom.

    Thanks again.

  3. Wow Sara, I have never though of this before! It is so the truth though, numbers are such a large part of our world, and not even just for “math related” situation. I am definately now a lot more aware of this fact!

  4. Wow! you have a great way of showing your point. We actually had someone come into my EMTH class a little while ago and ask us when we learnt the most abstract thing in our lives. The answer was in fact numbers! I hadn’t thought about it until then and your post shows it more. If you ask a three year old how old he is, he will show his fingers in the way his mom, dad or other adult showed him. But in reality he most likely doesn’t know what it all means. If you hold up three fingers in a different formation he will tell you that you are wrong. I though that this was very interesting and I like that you came up with so many ways of showing numbers in your life! (like the 4 hands of flips yes I know what you mean! lol it’s so a baton kind of language!)

  5. cool article, Sara. i like the way you think and express yourself.

    numbers are just symbols. arent they just the notes of a symphony called life?)

    1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 . . . . . .

    11:23 pm is cool.

    so i think numbers are just a language to describe things.

    numbers are limits but also express the unlimited possibilities of life.

    why do we need to count anyway?

    math is an art.

  6. Hello! I am from Mr.Harbeck’s blog. I am surprised with this post. Once I started to think about my everyday life, I happen to notice you ALWAYS hear or talk about numbers! That is very interesting and I haven’t thought of that ever! Thank you for commenting on our blog and I hope you do well on your blog!

  7. Hey, I read your post and I found it very interesting how you thought of ways that we use number. It never really came to my mind that we’ve been using numbers that often! Can you imagine not using any numbers at all?
    I watched the video and I am wondering why there was a -1 used when they show a girl scared, worried, or sad.
    Also thank you soo much for commenting on our blogs, we really appreciate you giving you time up to read them! You’ve been a great big help! Thank you once again!

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