# Math Class

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#### Papa Bear

Evolution of Math 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: 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 the homes? (There are no wrong answers.) Teaching Math In 2005 -- El hachero vende un camion carga por \$100. La cuesta de production es.....

This IS true. A couple days ago I splurged.... went for some grease burgers at Burger King. The cost was exactly \$6. Six dollars. No cents... a round six bucks. I handed the older teen, young twenties female functionary a ten dollar bill. She then reached over and USED AN ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR to determine I had four bucks change coming. Imagine the scenario if I had handed her a mixture of bills and coins!!!!!!!

A few years ago now, I bought a loaf of bread, and a litre of milk. The girl punched the numbers in, turned to me, and said "That will be \$298.00". I laughed, and asked if she was sure. She looked at the number on the machine and confirmed that it was definitely \$298.00. I got her to redo it, and was much relieved when it came up \$2.98. Must have been a long time ago. Bread's aboutr \$3.00 these days, and milk \$1.50

Not to rain on the "HUMOR" section discussion, but making change is an acquired skill. I remember the first time I had to do it. Like the girl in the story, I was confused - of course being a male I wasn't allowed to cry. Now it's easy as I've memorized subtractions from 100, but before that happened...... And the machines that do the math for you don't help the learning process. So give these young people a break. They're new to the world of employment and are trying very hard to follow the rules they've been told to follow, even though they aren't sure where the rules came from.

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Originally posted by CapriRacer: Not to rain on the "HUMOR" section discussion, but making change is an acquired skill.

if they were math whizzes they wouldn't be working somewhere that they have to make change in front of a cash register. algebra skills are required to graduate from 8th grade in california now.

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Originally posted by CapriRacer: Not to rain on the "HUMOR" section discussion, but making change is an acquired skill.

ROFL! My wife teaches that skill to her second graders. I would expect a high schooler to have no problem whatsoever.

I've noticed that you can almost guess a clerk’s age by the way she counts your change back. If she counts it "backwards" (as in "ok Mrs Smith that came to 2.57" and she hands you 3 pennies and says, "two sixty" then a nickel and says "sixty-five", then a dime and a quarter while saying "seventy-five and three," then counts the bills while saying "four, five...and five is ten.") you can pretty well guess that she's over 35 or 40. One time I was at a store with a clerk who looked to be in his early 20s and he counted my change “backwards.” I looked at him in surprise and he said "My mom made me learn this in case the power goes out and I have to make change. She said it's a dying art form." He's right. I've tried to get my sons to learn to count change that way. It's a quick way to check that the clerk has given you the correct change. Much quicker than trying to subtract (in your head) your purchases from the money you handed over.

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My wife teaches that skill to her second graders. I would expect a high schooler to have no problem whatsoever.
Well, we can send the dumb ones to work at the mines instead.

The counting backwards thing always made no sense to me. Subtraction really isn't that hard.

When my kids were ages 8 and 10 they started a little stand selling vegtables, pumpkins, etc. I taught them how to make change and most people were amazed that they could do it at such and early age. Now my kids are 13-15 and they sometimes have to tell the much older clerk behind the counter what change is owed them.

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Well, we can send the dumb ones to work at the mines instead.
Oh no, they should become Governemnt Bureaucrats in the EPA!

Sadly but true, the high school math I learn in this country, I learned them in middle school back in Hong Kong. Math should be a subject that there should be no ESL, no excuse, no disadvantage for anyone who try with pencil and paper. The way I will teach my kid in the future is give him some \$ to do small business (lemonade stand, buying grocery for me with a budget and he can pocket any discount he saved, etc). Profit is the best motivation to learn. Who knows, he might volunteer to learn to use derivative to maximize his own profit (literally).

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Originally posted by tom slick: if they were math whizzes they wouldn't be working somewhere that they have to make change in front of a cash register. algebra skills are required to graduate from 8th grade in california now.
Agree. But I disagree with your second statement. There is no "algebra requirement" for 8th grade, however, you must pass the Algebra End of Course Exam and Geometry End of Course Exam (starting for class of 2008) to graduate from high school. Now of course, anyone who is half-decent will have taken at least Pre-Calculus by the time they leave high school. Mike

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Originally posted by PandaBear: Sadly but true, the high school math I learn in this country, I learned them in middle school back in Hong Kong. Math should be a subject that there should be no ESL, no excuse, no disadvantage for anyone who try with pencil and paper. The way I will teach my kid in the future is give him some \$ to do small business (lemonade stand, buying grocery for me with a budget and he can pocket any discount he saved, etc). Profit is the best motivation to learn. Who knows, he might volunteer to learn to use derivative to maximize his own profit (literally).
No **** I don't disagree. Math doesn't seem to be as "important" in the eyes of American schools, even though much of life and logic revolves around mathematics. One of my friends moved back to Singapore for a year during middle school and came back knowning more math than we did, as he was about 2 years ahead of us. Now, that is sad. Profits. Maybe you can get your kid to open a mobile oil change business. Mike

"Now of course, anyone who is half-decent will have taken at least Pre-Calculus by the time they leave high school." half decent at what? Taking pre-cal is a waste for 90% of the people out there that don't need it. Not everyone is going to be an engineer or math teacher.

I agree with kenw. I do think every student should be exposed to algebra, although to many students it doesn't make any difference becuase they don't care. when I was in HS I fulfilled my required 1 year of algebra and never took any more math. the 3 years of autoshop and welding I took instead has provided me with more knowledge and opertunities than any required math class would have. I was simply not interested in math. you know the old cliche, you can lead a horse to water... now that I am older and wiser I wish I was better at math, but back then I really didn't care.

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Originally posted by kenw: "Now of course, anyone who is half-decent will have taken at least Pre-Calculus by the time they leave high school." half decent at what? Taking pre-cal is a waste for 90% of the people out there that don't need it. Not everyone is going to be an engineer or math teacher.
If you want to get into a competitive college, Calculus BC or Adv. Calculus is expected prior to entering. Sure you may not need it, but you just have to take it if you want to remain competitive. Mike

I really depends on the school district and schools you choose in the USA. My girls have skills. They include math. I'm not joking - our schools are way ahead of the curve.

I like to have fun with the cashiers, if the bill comes to \$4.87, I'll give them \$5.12 and see if they can figure it out. I've done that kind of thing a few times. One time, I swear, you saw her brain lock up like an engine without oil. It was something like "...uh.....um..... " I had to chuckle....

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