Recently, I visited Mexico for a short holiday. While in Mexico, I experienced that feeling of not comprehending connections about money values. When I would see a price in a menu, I had no connection to what that amount would be in American money.
I couldn't answer simple questions like:
Should I buy that ceramic glass... is it worth 320 pesos?
Is this daily rate for my hotel room reasonable and in my budget?
Did that person give me the correct change?
How much is each person's bill at the restaurant and how much should I tip the server?
It was driving me crazy!!!
So I made up a simple chart for my family based on the current exchange rate that looked somewhat like this:
I also wrote the American value on the end of each Mexican Bill until I started internalizing their value. Suddenly I felt like I was in control. I had NUMBER SENSE again.
Do you have students in your class that can't make connections between mathematical concepts like fractions, percents, and decimals? Please help them make those connections with concrete experiences, games, and charts.
It feels terrible when you just don't have any connections or background knowledge to help you understand....