THE HISTORY OF TEACHING MATH

THE HISTORY OF TEACHING MATH
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 exchanges a set “L” of lumber for a

set “M” of money.  The
cardinality of set “M” is 100.

Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100
dots representing the elements of the set “M”. 

The set “C”, the cost of
production contains 20 fewer points

than set “M”. Represent the set “C” as a
subset of set “M” and answer the

following question: What is the cardinality
of the set “P” of profits?

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:
By cutting down beautiful forest trees,

the logger makes $20.  What do you
think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after
answering the question? 

How did the forest birds and

squirrels feel as the
logger cut down the trees?

There are no wrong answers.

Teaching Math in 1996:
By laying off  402 of its loggers,

a company improves its stock price from
$80 to $100. How much capital gain

per share does the CEO make by exercising
his stock options at $80.

Assume capital gains are no longer taxed,

because this encourages investment.

Teaching Math in 1997:
A company outsources all of its loggers.

They save on benefits and when
demand for their product is down the

logging work force can easily be cut
back. The average logger employed

by the company earned $50,000, had 3 weeks
vacation, received a nice retirement plan

and medical insurance.  The
contracted logger charges $50 an hour.

Was outsourcing a good move?

Teaching Math in 1997b:
A logging company exports its wood-finishing

jobs to its Indonesian
subsidiary and lays off the corresponding

half of its US workers (the
higher-paid half).  It clear-cuts 95%

of the forest, leaving the rest for
the spotted owl, and lays off all its

remaining US workers. It tells the
workers that the spotted owl is

responsible for the absence of fellable
trees and lobbies Congress for exemption

from the Endangered Species Act.
Congress instead exempts the company

from all federal regulation.  What is
the return on investment of the lobbying costs?

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