As the first real math topic of this blog, it is only appropriate I start with the concept of math sense. Ever look at your bill at a restaurant and know that your total is right, even though you didn’t memorize the exact cost of each item? How about that time you were in math class and the answer you got after using the formula just didn’t look right? That would be your number sense kicking in… and be glad you have it!
So many students just plug away and whatever answer they get must be right… When I taught, I tried to instill in my students the need to check the answer. A forgotten sign or incorrect step will result in a wrong answer, but there is no consequence to this, other than getting the answer wrong… it’s not like they are building a bridge or going to Mars … but we should teach them like they are!
If you are a teacher, I find anecdotes like the two here to be helpful in driving home my point to check you answers… and I would suggest as a teacher, to have your students check their answers as part of their work. Maybe require it for the first quarter, by then it will become habit 😉
If you are a student, ALWAYS go back and check… it may mean the difference between an A and an A- today, but it could be a million dollar rocket explosion, or at least a bad tip at a restaurant, tomorrow!