I Demand a Recount!

It’s Math MCAS prep time here at my house and a 4th grader friend of my daughter’s was tackling this problem:

Bar Chart

Bar Chart

The multiple-choice question asks the student to select a reasonable conclusion based on the data above.

The student studied the question, then said, “I don’t like this. It makes boys look bad. I demand a recount!” My initial reaction, as his instructor, is to get him to focus on the question and answer it, not turn it into a debate. I got more flustered when he proceeded to take a pencil and extend the dark bars:

But thankfully, I stopped short to appreciate what’s actually happening. This kid really understands this graph. In fact, he internalizes the data from the graph to the point of getting upset about what it’s saying. That is true understanding. That’s more precious than the ability to pick the right multiple choice answer.

When math becomes relevant, when math makes you mad, when math is more than symbols and digits, when math talks to kids, that’s so awesome!