Thursday, February 16, 2006

Math 1950 - 2000

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when 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:

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. 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.

5. 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.)

6. Teaching Math In 2005
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80.


Kat said...

lmao. that's a good one. My bosses at my first job insisted we knew how to count back money. I hadn't counted money back before, it took a whole ummm...30 seconds to catch on! duh.

thanks for the vote over at madmans!

CanadianSwiss said...

That was great, Michael! Haha. I really loved it. Have you visited Ms. Mac lately. Her son can count aon a huge chocolate bar!

Orange-X said...

Great post Michael, but also sad. Guess we are getting old even though we don't feel that way. Wonder whether the Burger King girl had math the 2005 way. No wonder she was al mixed up!

The Big Finn said...

You know, a couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store here in die Schweiz and I had a similar situation. The bill was something like 40.20 and I handed the cashier a 100 franc note. Then I told her that I had the .20. She told me that I couldn't give her the .20 anymore because she had already entered the 100 into her register. I told her "...but, you'll end up with the same amount in your register. I'm just making it easy for you." Her answer..."NEIN!".

xmichra said...

FIRST - hahahahaa!!! that's way too funny!
SECOND - I know this hellish math thing all too well. I am the first to admit that I suck at math, but when I say that I mean algebra or calculus. I worked in retail for FAR too long, and the amount of people who cannot count 'backwards' to come up with change is astounding. I have never used a till to tell me how much change to give back, i have always done it in my head. But I suppose that's why I was always trusted with da money huh??

Anonymous said...

ROFL-that is awesome. You made me laugh so hard, I cried! Mind if I pass this onto others (of course will give credit and link to you ;)? If so, please let me know. (e-mail is Thanks!