I was sitting with a small group of 3rd graders, working on a Math word problem.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 and died on December 14, 1799. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 and died on April 15, 1865. Who lived a longer life, George or Abraham? How many years longer?
After discussing all the steps – like how to figuring out how old George is and how old Abraham is, and then comparing the two ages to find the difference in their ages, we set to work to solve the math. As we computed, we chatted.
Student 1 – I got George – he lived 67 years.
Student 2 – I got Abraham – he only lived to be 56 years.
I thought to myself, 56…that’s just four years longer than I am right now. My thoughts wondered to what I’ve accomplished in my 52 years compared to all that Lincoln accomplished in his fifty-some years.
Student 1 – I would have thought Abraham would live longer because in his lifetime, they had better medicine than they did during the 1700s.
I thought, good point. I like how he is seeing more than just the math in this problem.
Student 2: But he was shot and killed.
I thought, good point!! I wish I had made it.