Teaching Math in America

John Harrelson

New Member
A friend sent this "Joke" to me..
The problem with is, although it is supposed to be a joke, it scares the heck out of me and should scare every American..

Here is the joke ....

Last week I purchased a burger and fries at McDonalds for $3.58.
The counter girl took my $4.00 and 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

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 sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80.
Did he make a profit?

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:

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
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.)

Teaching Math In 2005:

Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para $100.
El cuesto de la produccion era $80. Cuantos tortillas
Se puede comprar?


New Member
Teaching Math in America

Sad but true, and it scares me too. Try asking a kid about American history. Jerry


Senior Member
Teaching Math in America

The sad part of this is that this "joke" has been circulating since I started computing in 1980!

So, the problem will probably never get fixed.

C Nash

Senior Member
Teaching Math in America

Guess this is to be expected when we are letting kids in grammer school use calculators instead of their brain to add and subtract. Very few count money back now. If the registar don't tell them how much change they are lost. Wife ordered a cup of instant cofee in a fast food joint and the girl told her they only had it in the little instant packages and she didn't know how to make it :eek: . Wife told her to give her a cup of hot water and she would show her how :laugh: Guess I'm a good one to talk. I can't use these stupid computers :( . Have to get the grandkids to help :laugh: :laugh: