### May 24, 2006

From Bill Cara's website today - a reader sent in the following joke:

Subject: History of teaching math...

Last week I purchased a burger and fries at McDonalds for \$3.58. The counter girl took my \$4.00 and I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there holding the nickel and 3 pennies. While looking at the screen on her register, I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?

Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for \$100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for \$100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or \$80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for \$100. His cost of production is \$80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for \$100. His cost of production is \$80 and his profit is \$20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of \$20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2005

Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para \$100. El cuesto de la produccion era \$80. Cuantos tortillas se puede comprar?

My comment would be that math must have come easy to me so I am lucky I guess. I do not remember my parents ever helping me out yet I find my wife and I teaching our kids at home quite a bit. It seems like we are falling further behind while having more thrust on parents at a time when many households rely on dual incomes. No simple answers here except I am glad my wife is pulling the slack for me on homework.

By the way - what the f#@ck is the answer. My HP-C12 is out of batteries.