Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fifty Years of Math 1959 - 2009 (in the USA)

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 the 1950s: 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 the 1960s: 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 the 1970s: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is$80 Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In the1980s: 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 the 1990s: 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, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )

6. Teaching Math In 2009: Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

13 comments:

Christy and Kevin said...

Pretty sad, isn't it. Kevin and I had the same thing happen to us before at Jack in the Box. The girl barely understood english and then had to call the manager to give us correct change. I felt bad for her, but when I tried to help you could tell she couldn't fully comprehend what I was saying. About the animals, makes me feel like crying every time.

Christy

Shara said...

Funny - and yet so very very true - it's sad isn't it? . . .

Jason and Lissa said...

This is what our country is coming to? Sigh. By the way, the breakdown of math by decade was hilarious.

Melisa said...

This happened to me a few weeks ago! I had to tell her I didn't any pennies back because she couldn't figure out why I'd given her change. ACK!

Rob and Steph Puterbaugh said...

Back in the day when I was working at Arby's that happened to me...but it wasn't as easy to figure out...i mean 50 cents was the return! But...as my story goes on...i never learned how to count change back until i was 17!!!! And that was because I was working at an Ice cream place that didn't have cash registers and my employer taught me! So, I know that seems sad (and it is), but if they are willing to learn to count money back then she'll be fine.

As for the math through the decades...I think that's true. We (USA) used to be one of the better nations on teaching Math and Science, now we're the lowest. I think we need to change that!!!

Rob and Steph Puterbaugh said...

just as a correction as I'm rereading my comment...50cents was the change for your change...the change I was giving back was an Odd amount insteand of an even.

Carina said...

Wow. That's...sad. And yet, so true!

Dianah said...

I love it! You hit it on the head. I worked in retail for years before I got married and I could do the math, but my co-workers couldn't and I never understood why. I thank my parents each day for NOT letting me have a calculator in school.

Anonymous said...

I do find the last part a little bit racist...

Valerie said...

Beautiful post! I laughed, I cried. . sometimes the truth is just downright disturbing!

Regan said...

This is so true. I was asking some of my office aides if they could count back change without the register telling them what it was supposed to be and they couldn't even get the concept of giving change without knowing what to give..Sheeeesshhh.
Here's something else, next time you are out to dinner really count your change. Most waitpersons, is that PC, now "round out the change". If you are on the rounding up, good for you. If you are on the rounding down, sorry about your luck. No lie, they used to do it at UNO's. When I called the girl back she explained it to me and said, "I can give you back your exact change if you want (read a bit of attitude here) it is just easier for me to do it this way. Gotta love the USA

jennifer said...

SO TRUE. This is one of the reasons we've already decided that any children we may be blessed with will not be attending government (public) schools.

monicalrobbins said...

So true! It just confirms our decision to homeschool our girls!