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Articles on Numbers

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The human brain isn’t built to understand large numbers. OsakaWayne Studios/Moment via Getty Images

Brains are bad at big numbers, making it impossible to grasp what a million COVID-19 deaths really means

The brain can count small numbers or compare large ones. But it struggles to understand the value of a single large number. This fact may be influencing how people react to numbers about the pandemic.
Government spending bills that cost billions or trillions of dollars can seem abstract. Siri Stafford/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Support for Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package may not be as broad as it seems – it’s all a matter of perspective

It’s awfully hard to wrap your mind around a sum that large. But converting it to a more bite-size representation can affect a voter’s willingness to support government spending.
If you thought multiplication tables at school were hard, imagine multiplying numbers with billions of digits. Shutterstock/Nina Buday

We’ve found a quicker way to multiply really big numbers

To multiply two numbers by hand take a few steps but it’s something we’re taught in school. When dealing with big numbers, really big numbers, we need to a quicker way to do things.
Some things are just tricky to measure. Flickr/Patty O'Hearn Kickham

It’s not so easy to gain the true measure of things

How useful is the information you get from the measure of any thing? That depends on what you chose measure in the first place, and that’s not always clear.
Parents find new methods for learning math challenging, as they are different. But they work for children, building upon what they have learned about numbers and reinforcing the strategy they use for reading. (Shutterstock)

The ‘new math’: How to support your child in elementary school

You may not know it, but the elementary math wars are raging. Our expert explains the ‘new math’ - why it works for kids, and how to do it.

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