Sunday, February 07, 2010

Teaching How Big A Billion, Or A Trillion, Really Is

When I'm in an entertaining mood, I sometimes consider making my tests worth 1,000,000 points each. I wouldn't adjust anything else, I'd just make tests worth 1,000,000 points each. The way I set up my grading, test points go into their own category that amounts to a fixed 40% of a student's grade, so as long as each test is worth a similar amount, it doesn't really matter how many points I allow for each test.

Taking this a step further, though--if you use "total points" to calculate grades, you set the points for tests, quizzes, assignments, and the like in relative amounts to get the weighting you want for each category. If, additionally, you wanted to surreptitiously teach an understanding of the scale of large numbers, you might make the total points available in your class to be 1 trillion.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a a teacher at Rio that had more than 16,000 points last semester. I thought that was quite amusing.

Kristeen & Keith said...

it would be great way to work on familiarity with scientific notation also! Yeah, I scored a 7.8 X10^1. Is that good?