Words and Numbers

An applet presents some more or less random examples at the outset to arouse curiosity and try to get the user to discover the hidden relation between the numbers shown and the words that represent them. Most users who see this activity for the first time do not see the connection, so further examples are presented in progressive steps that reveal stronger and stronger hints. The last hint shows the words typed on the screen, letter by letter, together with accompanying audible clicks of typewriter keys.

An applet has been designed to allow the user to type in words while the computer automatically registers the number of letters used. A mechanism will be developed for generating feedback to the user for acceptable or unacceptable solutions.

This activity has several pedagogical benefits. The user learns different ways to represent whole numbers, how to spell words correctly, how to count letters carefully, and how to devise strategies for making iterative estimates. Unfamiliar technical words in the worked examples can be accessed through the Glossary if the user chooses to do so. Another benefit is the multi-disciplinary nature of this activity. An example such as

" 45 = the last two digits in the year that World War Two ended"

provides a connection with World History. Similar connections can be made to other disciplines. The open-ended nature of this activity will stimulate a great deal of interest among young students.