Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Math of Injustice

While on our camping trip in Seaside, Oregon last week, there was a night where Liliana and her 2nd cousin, Maddy, were given the opportunity to sleep in a tent together without any grown-ups. They thought this was excellent fun. Emmett (age 7) repeatedly tried to climb into their tent leading up to bedtime, hoping he'd be allowed to join them. I pulled him aside and let him know that we were only going to have the 2 girls sleep in there together (for various reasons). I reminded him that both the girls had had to wait until they were 9 and when he turns 9 we will let him sleep in a tent with cousins without grown-ups as well. Tears ensued, punctuated with some questions and comments between sobs...
"Mom, a year is 365, right?" Emmett tearfully inquired.
"Days? Yes," I replied.
A loud sob preceded his next comment - "But that's over 700-something days!" A brief moment to inhale and cry was followed by, "It's 730 days!"
"Wow, Emmett, that's really good adding, buddy." I told him. " But it's actually less than that, because it's already July and you will be 8 in November. Then you'll be 9 one year after that." 
He sniffled and wiped his cheeks while the wheels turned and then he looked up and said, "485 days."
At first I didn't realize that he had actually done the math, but after a minute it dawned on me that he had calculated the four months between now and his birthday at 30 days each, to be 120 days, and then added that to the 365 days in a year to make 485.
"David, are you hearing what this kid is doing?" I asked my husband who was getting our 4 year old situated in his sleeping bag for the night.
David was about to respond when Emmett said, "Actually it's 487 days because of the two 31 months." 
Now I just need to inform all of Emmett's teachers that if they are ever having trouble getting him to focus on a math problem, they can turn it into a scenario in which he is being treated unfairly and he will solve it with a precision and speed well above grade level expectation

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