Teaching math through the generations.

I found an old e-mail printout of this from 2002 and updated it.

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 exchanges a set “L” of lumber for a set “M” of money. The cardinality of set “M” is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set “M”. The set “C,” the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set “M”. Represent the set “C” as subset of set “M” and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set “P” of profits?

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: 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. You may cry if you want.

Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60?

Teaching Math in 2010: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. The federal government bails out his firm. How much is his bonus?

Teaching Math in 2020: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de production es $20. ¿Que es las ganancias?

The Economy

An Old One

Mild Recession – You hear about people being unemployed.
Recession – You know people who are unemployed.
Depression – You are unemployed.

Economist jokes

Why did Harry Truman prefer one-armed economists.
Because they couldn’t say “On the other hand.”
How do you get a one-armed economist out of a tree?
Wave at them.
An economist is someone who chases a black cat in a dark room.
An economic theorist chases a black cat in a dark room and the cat isn’t there.
An econometrician chases a black cat in a dark room, the cat isn’t there, and he shouts “I’ve got it.”


I’m not sure what the question was, but the answer is stabilize the money supply

Milton Friedman

Economists must have a sense of humor if they can predict the the growth of GDP to a 1/10th of a percent.

John Scarry

The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.

John Scarry


The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said ‘No change yet.’

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!