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Updated 05-10-10 00:46h

Fifty Years of Teaching Math 1957 - 2009

© by Andy Knef,, my student of NSCI-100/110 Stuttgart Böblingen Panzer, May 09:

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 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 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 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 1980s
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 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?

A Simple Deduction

© by Kathe Herhusky, my student of ASTR-100 Heidelberg, March 99:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine they lay down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars." "What does that tell you?" Watson pondered for a minute.

"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.
Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. "Watson, you pompous ass. Some bastard has stolen our tent."

Solar eclipse, bad  luck of:

Mr. Johannes Kepler   
German astronomer, physicist and mathematician, 1571 - 1630

While Mr. Keppler was concentrating on his observation of the unique total solar eclipse in the 17th century, somebody stole 30 Gulden from his wallet.

Solar eclipse, bad  luck of:

Mr. Thomas Alva Edison
American inventor of 1,100 patents in telegraphy, phonography, electric lighting and photography, 1847 - 1931

Mr. Edison chose a particularly smart observation site: he went into a chicken coop to watch the total solar eclipse. However, when the totality came, all the chickens ran into their house to sleep - a normal animal behavior during a totality. Mr. Edison could not see the total eclipse at all...

Solar eclipse, bad  luck of:

Many observers in Germany on Wednesday, 11 August 1999

As we watched the unique solar eclipse from one of the best sites located on the central line of totality (Bitche, France), which provided 2 minutes and 15 seconds of total eclipse, the experience of my American students (particularly those from California, Arizona and similar sunny states) with the German climate - 'Germany has two seasons: raining and raining' - has been confirmed. We could see the eclipsed Sun within a small hole in clouds up to about 2 minutes before totality, but then thick clouds eclipsed the Sun more than the Moon... And about half an hour after totality, a strong rain cooled us.

Mr. Gorsky's good lunar luck

Click here on 30 years after the small step to learn about Mr. Gorsky's lunar luck. Neil Armstrong 80 years:

College Life

Click here on Those whacky parents!

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