Saturday, April 08, 2006

US Math Through the Decades

While checking out the blog of those crazy folks at The Morning Spin, I came across a post containing this email. Priceless. (H/t Dan)

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?

1 Comments:

At 4:41 PM, April 08, 2006, Blogger Billiam said...

I love your chart of progression! I had a similar experience once, except, the register was down. I had to explain to the kid how to figure the tax, and then count the change. She, however, didn't cry.

 

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