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This is a number sense activity from the Figure It Out series.
identifying numbers used in newspapers and magazines.
This activity is designed to give students an enjoyable investigation that will help them recognise numbers in everyday use by researching in newspapers and magazines.
Ensure that the students understand each of the number types needed. This is an opportunity to emphasise that a percentage is a fraction “out of a hundred”.
It may be interesting to tally the percentages found to see the most common ones used in the newspapers and magazines.
Although there are three types of averages (median, mean, and mode), the usual one found in newspapers is the mean or average, such as the average temperatures for the month in the weather section or average scores in the sports section. For example, the weather page often lists data such as “mean annual rainfall” or “average sun for October”. These may also be good examples of the use of rounding.
The students are asked to find a decimal that is not money because common usage reads a quantity such as $3.57 as “three dollars fifty-seven” instead of “three point five seven dollars”, which would be the correct way of describing a decimal number. Dollars and cents are also often written without a decimal point in newspapers (for example, 50 cents, not 0.50 cents). An entry in the business pages may be 7.25% where the unit is one percent. An entry such as $2.85 million would be a good example of a decimal where the unit is one million dollars.
Finding a common fraction may be difficult, but sometimes car dealers advertise repayments such as 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 to show the amount that is charged each year.
Metric measures are used in the property, sports, food, car, and weather sections of newspapers. It may be an interesting challenge to find as many different metric unit references as possible from the same newspaper.
Words such as “about”, “almost”, or “approximately” would indicate that an estimate and/or a rounding has been made in a report.
Temperatures are listed in the weather section of a newspaper.
If the students cannot find a winning score of approximately 20 percent, have them find a sports team result and estimate the winning margin as a percentage.
1.–2. Practical activity
3. Results will vary.