Hi ---

After some initial comments, I'm going to suggest a method of presenting the K.I.S.S. material orally. This is also something which could be turned into a Power Point presentation.

Once again, my suggestions are based on some reading I've done about the cognitive processes involved in mathematics, as well as some experience I've had in tutoring math-challenged adults.

COUNTING:

Counting is a fairly straightforward operation, especially in the range of the smaller numbers. But as you get into larger numbers, people tend to count as if they are counting from 0 to 9 over and over.

For instance, listen to a child counting aloud to 100 while playing hide-and-seek, and you may notice that when he gets to the larger numbers, there's an emphasis on the final digit of the number:

Forty-SIX, forty-SEVEN, forty-EIGHT, forty-NIIIIIIIIIIINE, FIF-ty.

Fifty-ONE, fifty-TWO, fifty-three ... fifty-NIIIIIIINE, SIX-ty.

It's as if he's using an odometer, and counting from 0-9 over and over.

When it comes to counting backwards, people can do a countdown from 10 *very* quickly. 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1 ... BLAST OFF!

But ask them to count backward ten steps from 3,841 and see how long it takes.

COUNTING BACKWARDS IN TIME:

Now, with regard to the material on the WT chronology:

You are going to ask people to count backwards in time through some years in the BCE era.

In my experience, there are some people who would have to stop and think for a minute just to understand the previous sentence!

If I were going to present the K.I.S.S. material to someone who did not have much math background, I would remind them that when you count backwards in time in our modern era, you go from LARGER numbers to SMALLER numbers.

I would demonstrate with a few easy numbers. It's important for them to *hear* it as well as *see* it:

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000.

I'd say it with the emphasis on the last digit:

Two-thousand-FIVE, two-thousand-FOUR, two-thousand-THREE ...

Then I might say:

"But when you count backwards through time in the years Before Christ (the era which is called B.C. or B.C.E.) you count from smaller numbers to LARGER numbers."

1 B.C., 2 B.C., 3 B.C., 4, 5, 6 B.C. ...

I'd put the stress on the number:

ONE B.C., TWO B.C., THREE B.C., 4, 5, 6 BC, etc. ...

"Now we're going to jump to the 500's B.C. (B.C.E.) and we're going to be counting backwards in time from 539 B.C.E., which is a very important date in WT chronology."

[At this point, you might consider saying something along the lines of: "539 B.C. is the year when the neo-Babylonian empire came to an end, when Babylon was captured by the Persians. According to the Bible, this took place on the night of Belshazzar?s feast, when the finger wrote the words on the wall, MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN." If you are dealing with someone who knows this Bible story, it will help him picture that this was the end of the Babylonian empire. Just keep it short. ]

Now demonstrate how to count backwards in time starting with 539 B.C. (B.C.E.):

539 B.C.

540 B.C.

541

542

543 ...

Say:

"Five-thiry-NINE B.C., Five-FORTY B.C., Five-forty-ONE, Five-forty-TWO, Five-forty-THREE ...

Remember, the numbers get bigger. Just as we counted 1 BC, 2 BC, 3, 4, 5, 6 BC, now we are counting 539, 540, 541, 542, etc."

Help them tie that together. It's easy to count 1 BC, 2 BC, etc., but, once again, when you jump to larger numbers, it's not as easy to process.

This should all be done with the tables of numbers in front of the person.

SAY the number and POINT to the number as you move down the list.

[Remember, this may all seem waaaaaay too easy and baby-like to all of you, but we are using the K.I.S.S. approach for people who may have math phobia, people whose eyes may glaze over when they hear the word "chronology".

Chances are, the person may be apprehensive about the presentation itself. They may be afraid that you are going to give them information they do not want to hear, that may conflict with what they believe to be the truth. All of this sets up an obstacle to comprehension, so you want to make it as easy as possible. There are valid reasons for SAYING the number, POINTING to the number, and REPEATING the counting sequence. ]

That about wraps up my thoughts on COUNTING.

In a day or so I hope to write up some thoughts about how I might do an oral presentation of the information on how long each of the neo-Babylonian kings reigned.

3... 2... 1... Good night!

Marjorie