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Numeracy as Cultural Practice: An Examination of Numbers in Magazines for Children, Teenagers, and Adults

Elana Joram, Lauren B. Resnick and Anthony J. Gabriele
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Jul., 1995), pp. 346-361
DOI: 10.2307/749479
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749479
Page Count: 16
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Numeracy as Cultural Practice: An Examination of Numbers in Magazines for Children, Teenagers, and Adults
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Abstract

Many have argued for the importance of numeracy, yet little is known about the opportunities for numeracy presented to people in their daily lives. In this study, we analyzed and compared the characteristics of rational numbers in magazines written for children, teenagers, and adults. Our analysis indicates that difficult mathematical concepts that appear in the media, such as fractions, percents, and averages, are much more prevalent in adults' magazines than in those written for children and teenagers. Adults are often presented with rational numbers that are related to each other. Numbers in teenagers' texts do not appear to form a transition to those found in adults' texts, despite the fact that through formal schooling teenagers have covered all the mathematical concepts that are frequently found in adults' texts. Implications for preparing students for the numeracy demands of everyday life are discussed.

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