Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

John Allen Paulos
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What type of academic would most likely cringe over a misused word?

2. What word does the author use to describe mathematical errors?

3. What about coincidence makes it the most noticeable among events?

4. What theory states that any number, no matter how large, can be achieved by adding smaller numbers together?

5. Paulos refers to which Italian scientist?

Short Essay Questions

1. How would embracing scientific notation help people with large numbers?

2. What amusing example does Paulos use to illustrate the misunderstanding of numbers?

3. How was the situation in the story handled? How did it involve probability?

4. What is the example used by Paulos to demonstrate the connections between people?

5. Why do people tend to be fascinated by coincidences?

6. Where does the author believe most people fit in?

7. Which famous doctor does Paulos introduce first? What is the doctor's opinion?

8. What is Paulos' suggestion for making math more understandable to the general public?

9. What is the last principle discussed in chapter 1?

10. The first example Paulos uses about percentages relates to weather forecasters. What is the mistake?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain the two theoretical results as discussed by Paulos. What are they? How can they be explained so that an innumerate could understand and apply the theories? Why are they important? How can the theories be proven? Provide at least five examples of each theory to illustrate your points.

Essay Topic 2

Write a 1,000-word essay on how probabilities are used in your every day life. Include predictions as well as results for whatever event you choose. Create your own theories and test methods.

Essay Topic 3

What is the purpose of polling? How is it done? What missteps can cause a poll to be inaccurate? How can the issue be resolved? Give at least three examples of polls, methods, and why they are important.

(see the answer keys)

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