Monday, May 9, 2011

From a Womb We All Came

There are an estimated 6.92 X 10^9 (yes, that’s billions!) human beings currently living on the face of this earth. Too astounding to even fathom! Because of this weekend, it made me wonder how many of us are mothers. I asked my husband if he had any idea. His advice was to Google the info. When that didn’t give me an answer, he said that I would need to come up with an equation that would consider the number of females who are of childbearing age. Too complicated and too much work. (Have you heard that before? Hmmmm. Sounds familiar?)

So I decided to make a conservative estimate. If a little less than 50% of the world population is female and roughly half of them are mothers, this would calculate to 1.7 billion mothers! That’s only counting those currently living. How about all the mothers since the beginning of time?

As I work with students who failed TAKS the first time in April and will need to retake it next week, I am baffled at their lack of ability to comprehend extremely small as well as very big numbers. Of course, scientific notation isn’t going to make sense to these students. What does times 10 mean? What’s with the exponents? Why is it positive sometimes but negative other times?

Although I teach middle school, I am a huge fan of children’s picture books. I’m even a huger (I know, it’s not technically a word) fan of picture books that teach math concepts. A couple of my favorite that ones that deal with large numbers are How Much is a Million by David M. Schwartz and Six Million Paper Clips by Peter W. Schroede. If I only had more time in class, think what I can do with books!

To all the moms, grandmothers, and mother-figures out there,
Happy Mother’s Day!!
We LOVE you with all our hearts!!!

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