The Math Gets Better? + Computer Gender


<<< Years of Math 1950 – 2014 >>>

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $2.58. The counter girl took my $ 3 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 2000

Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

7. Teaching Math In 2014

Who cares, just steal the lumber from your rich neighbor’s property. He won’t have a gun to stop you, and the President says it’s OK anyway because its a redistribution of wealth.



Is Your Computer a Male or Female?

In Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.  ‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la Casa.’  ‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

The teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked
them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculineor a feminine noun.
Each group was asked to give four reasons for it’s recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ‘computer’ should definitely be of the
Feminine gender (‘la computadora’), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2 The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
Incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for
Possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself
Spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be
Masculine (‘el computador’), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they
ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a
little longer, you could have gotten a much better model.

The women won!


Comments are closed.