Last week I purchased a cheeseburger at McDonalds for $1.58. I handed $2.08 to the young woman behind the counter. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while staring blankly at her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me back two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she started crying in frustration. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math in the United States over the past six decades:
Teaching Math in 1959
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 1969
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 1979
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
Teaching Math in 1989
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 1999
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 his way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger destroyed their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s OK.)
Teaching Math in 2009
Un maderero vende un camión cargado de madera por $100. Su coste de producción es de $80. ¿Se obtienen beneficios?
Article published on June 3, 2009
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