## A History of Teaching Math

An oldie but goodie, still funny, keeps circulating the web. New versions keep cropping up all the time. If you know the source or a better version, please tell us. We think this is Public Domain.

**TEACHING MATH IN 1940-1950:**

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 1960-1970:**

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 1980:**

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. Her cost of production is $80 and her 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 1995:**

By laying off 40% 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 1996:**

A logging company exports half its wood-finishing jobs to its Indonesian subsidiary and lays off the higher-paid half of its remaining US workers. It clear-cuts 95% of the forest, leaving the rest for the spotted owl. It tells the laid-off 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 previous regulations but then approves a whole new set of them. What is the return on investment of the lobbying effort?

**TEACHING MATH IN 1997:**

A company outsources all of its remaining loggers. The firm saves on benefits, and when demand for its product is down, the loggers are let go. The average logger previously employed by the company earned $50,000 per year, and had 3 weeks paid vacation, a nice retirement plan and medical insurance.The contracted logger charges $50 an hour. Was outsourcing a good move for the company?

**TEACHING MATH IN 1998:**

A laid-off logger with four kids at home and a ridiculous alimony from his first failed marriage comes into the logging-company corporate offices and goes postal, mowing down 16 executives and a couple of secretaries, and gets lucky when he nails a politician on the premises collecting his kickback. Was outsourcing the loggers a good move for the company?

Hypothetical addition (EXTRA CREDIT)

**TEACHING MATH IN 1999**:

A laid-off logger serving time in Folsom for blowing away several people is being trained as a COBOL programmer in order to work on Y2K projects. What is the probability that the automatic cell doors will open on their own as of 00:01, 01/01/2000?