# Number Sense

10 months ago
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by Team Member
Vanessa Perez

Common Core math asks you to understand numbers for all that they are and not just as problems. The idea is to see the big picture, the picture that tells the whole story. ReWritten’s participants are in the thick of learning exactly that, and they are eager… sometimes. Sometimes, they are tired and unmotivated. Sometimes, they believe they are not the fortunate ones or don’t quite have what it takes to succeed. That’s when tutors have to take another approach, and participants are reminded that they are often their greatest adversaries, and it is their choice to seek to understand the whole story. They can take ownership and overcome the odds or succumb to them.

What’s in an exponent? It’s the same thing as multiplying, right? Like, if it says, 1.002548, it’s the same thing as 1.0025×48, right?  Darrius is a freshman in high school and is beginning to learn about the power of compounding interest. The assignment: set up the exponential equation to calculate compound-interest using this formula.

We know that’s an intimidating formula, but it’s really just a fancy way to say, “how much will my money grow?”. After several failed attempts, Darrius took a deep breath, sharpened his pencil, and got ready to figure out just how different the expressions, 1.002548 and 1.0025×48, really are.

There’s one very important life lesson that parallels his math lesson: small and large deposits, made every day, can change the legacy of his life and the lives of those who will come after hi.  The small and seemingly insignificant deposits, like being respectful when instructed to do something, and immediately taking responsibility for choices, are deposits that can compound exponentially in the life of this young man growing up with exceptional trials and struggles.

Darrius and others are learning that daily efforts and attention paid to their education, their community, and their own lives are the necessary deposits that will have a compounding impact on their lives forever. It’s usually not easy or fun, but sharing the daily and weekly victories have become common around here, and we’re more than okay with that. Team members and volunteers are tirelessly working to ensure that our young people are being equipped with the tools needed to recognize their opportunities for a different life as not just available for someone else but for themselves. That’s the bigger picture we hope for them to see. It’s not just about math, but about life.

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