The simple things in life

Going to the store to pick up band-aids ’cause you cut your finger. Simple, right? NOT HERE! Wes went to the store in the next town to buy a box. He went up to the counter and asked for band aids. “Band aids” the lady said… “for cuts?” “Yes, for cuts”. She grabbed a box, pulled a few out and asked how many. “Uhhh… can’t I buy the whole box?” Oh! Yeah. Clerk shakes all 5 boxes, one at a time. Hands him one, saying “We have to count them. None of them are full. Help me.” Ok. Since they come in pairs, Wes makes 3 stacks of 5 pairs. 30 bandaids. Clerk looks at him with a puzzled look, wondering how he counted them so fast. She says she has 28. But they’re 28 pairs. Hmmm…. 28. 28+28… hmmm… that’s 40…and 8… 40 ummm… Wes says “56.” Yeah. 56. And you have 30. That’s… 80… umm… 80… “86.” Yeah. 86. so…. “We need 14 more from another box.” 14? “yeah.” So she looks at the third box in confusion; then at Wes. “7 pairs. That’s 14.” All 100 bandaids go in one box, and off he goes!

I (Cindy) have been helping the staff’s kids with their math again. 2 of them came to learn about these numbers that have one on top of the other with a line between. So I asked, “Have you heard the word fractions?” “Well, it seems to me that maybe I’ve heard that word somewhere,” he said. So I got out a sheet of paper and tore it into pieces. “Have you heard of thirds? fifths? You know what a half is!” He said, “I think maybe I’ve heard something like that. Yeah.

We went on to have a simple lesson in fractions. Then he asked me, “Have you ever heard of this thing called a number line? It’s like a ruler.” Yeah. I have. But it’s not really much like a ruler, except that it has numbers on it. I told him all the wonderful uses for a number line – keeping track of what people owe you and stuff. Then we had to put the fractions on the number line. But he couldn’t understand that the fractions go BETWEEN 0 and 1. And the improper fractions REALLY threw him off. I whipped out the paper again and asked if I had more or less than one piece in my hand. LIGHT BULB! (These kids are in 7th and 8th grades and have passed with high A’s.)

So THIS is why when people ask me to teach English here, I say no way. I want to give them something that will be far more useful to them in life. What good is it to speak English if you can’t count a box of band aids?!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Noah Kamper on March 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    That makes me happy, happy that I will be able to teach things like math, and that story gives a great testimony for the usefulness of our future outdoor science program!

  2. YES!!! What we can add to the local science studies is exciting! We have signs all over camp that say, “Throwing trash in the ravine damages God’s creation. Don’t do it!” One day an adult counselor walking with 2 campers asked me to explain HOW throwing trash is harmful to creation. They had no idea! I can’t wait to make a difference in that area!

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