Real Life Math: When Numbers DON’T HELP!

It’s the first Wednesday of December which means it’s time for our  linky – Math IS Real Life.
If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out the link-ups from  August , September , October and November  OR check out out
 Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!  
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs – feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!
A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

Today’s “Real life”  math post is going to be a short but sweet one.  I have been actively searching out information about buying a new laptop because I have had a few ominous signs that my current one is about to . . . ummmmm . . . end its journey.

So–I asked around.  Here’s what I learned.

You have to get a Mac.
Don’t get a Mac.
You will HATE Windows 8.
You will LOVE Windows 8.
HP is on its way out.
HP has the highest quality parts.

So . . . my decision was not helped at all.  Where was the DATA?  The numbers?

The next step?  Grabbing the Sunday paper to start my research.

Certainly with a stack of ads like this, I could find something, right?

Time to dig in!

So I read.  And I looked.  And I compared prices.  And then I got more and more confused.  How do you compare a computer with 8 GB of memory to one with 6 GB?  Is one worth the $200 more?  I started to look at all the numbers and realized that I had TOO MUCH data…and not the kind of data that was helpful to me!

It kind of made me think about all the data we collect on students…and how hard it is to find real data/numbers that can help us make good decisions…and how to weed through the data that does not.
When it came down to it, I decided what numbers were most important to me:
Memory (I have a TON of photos, clip art, etc)
Screen size (I love my 17 inch screen)
Price (I set a budget)
Overall quality/customer reviews.
I thought about what I already knew–that I had been satisfied with the computer I currently had so I decided to stick with the brand.  I looked for the ones that had the memory and screen size I wanted, eliminated those out of my price range–and got it down to two models.  With some quick reading online, I was able to eliminate one and make the decision.

Do I understand all of this?  Nope.  Do I think I could have spent 20 more hours looking at numbers and researching this?  Yep.  Was it worth it?  I don’t think so.  I guess the entire process made me think about numbers in the real world.  We surround ourselves with them, make decisions based on them, and worry about them.  Sometimes we just need to simplify, trust our guts, and forge ahead.  
(By the way…my new baby is set to be built and shipped December 12!  Decision made!)
Have a great day!