The evolution of math‏!

Teachers can relate to this. And everyone else, should too!

Years of Math 1950 – 2010

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 In1970s

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?

7. Teaching Math In 2013
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
cuz it’s redistributing the wealth of those evil rich Republicans!


I used to think life was all about the destination, achieving some great ambition or dream, reaching your goal and getting everything done.  Naturally I had to grow older and wiser to finally see the forest from the trees.  And it’s become perfectly clear to me.  Not only the forest from the trees (and the trees from the forest!) but the fact that life isn’t about the destination or goal or any such nonsense.  It is indeed about the journey.  And what we experince over and during the journey.  And most of all, what we learn, how we change, and how we grow and progress.  As well, I think it’s about the obstacles we overcome and the challenges we face and conquer and what good seeds we plant along the way.  Did we do good?  Did we make a difference?  Was our presence here important?

Well, this poem of mine touches on all these subjects, but it’s focus is on taking the journey that is life…and not having to take it alone! 

Patrick The Poet 

You often swear
the past is not your allegiance
and the life you lead and live.
True, it does appear
the future is the journey
you fear and have never known.
But perhaps
if you learned to eschew the past
and surrender your reliance
upon hating the future
(that fear and ignorance give!)
then perhaps
the journey that is life
you would not
have to travel 
Now out here
in this vast world
filled with turmoil and strife
and loneliness and despair
(and fear of the unknown!)
I have seen how the past
can leave the lonely world
easier to bear,
and the journey that is life
less desperate and unknown.
For it is clear
the journey is also vast and rife
with infinite hope and change;
for there is love and friendship
to aid the journey that is life,
and other magnificent things
yet to be shown!
So keep the future near
and let the past achieve an end;
what need is there of strife
when the future is waiting
to be known?
For the journey that is life
is for us to share!
So come now, take my hand
and be my friend.
And I swear
to all that is holy in life,
you will no longer
have to travel
the journey