Posted Wed, 25 Sep 2013 at 6:33 am
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A while back one of my readers and top commentators sent me a picture of a clock, knowing that I would find it amusing. Here it is:

*(Added 9/26/2013: In the comments to this post, you will see that several of my sharp readers have "done the math" and determined that there's a problem with the math at the 5:00 position. That's the picture that was sent to me, so I'll just have to leave it. You can see their corrections in the comments section of this post.)* ๐

It reminded me of a picture of a clock I featured in a post called History of Math Teaching in the US. In that post I related that each year now I have at least one student who does not know how to tell time with an analog clock. As we face learning time telling again in my beginning languages classes, I'm going to continue to keep analog clocks before my students' eyes, but much simpler than the clock above. ๐

As I have further contemplated why students do not do well with mathematical concepts, I wondered if, for some, it's simply because they don't do their homework. Today's post is a list of the top ten excuses students give for not doing their math homework. I'm not mathematical enough to understand the humor in some of these, and I even did my homework, always!

**Top Ten Excuses For Not Doing Math Homework**

1. I accidentally divided by zero and my paper burst into flames.

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Tags: math and science

Posted Wed, 20 Mar 2013 at 7:00 am
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The past several years I have had students who did not know how to tell time with an analog clock. You would have thought it looked like the one at the beginning of this post. They said that the reason they didn't know how to read an analog clock was that all the clocks in their homes and lives were digital. Since I believe that the ability to tell time by looking at the hands on the clock is a basic life skill, I made sure those students learned to do so. But I have to wonder why they hadn't been taught this somewhere in their schooling.

Earlier this week I received a classic that had been updated from the version I had in my files, and I decided that this would be this week's blog post.

**History of Math Teaching in the US (since the 1950's)**

attributed to several individuals

Recently a man purchased a burger at a fast food restaurant for $1.58. The girl at the counter took his two dollars as he dug in his pocket for change. He pulled out 8 cents and gave the coins to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, staring at the screen on her register. He sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her just to give him two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to his employee, she stood there and cried.

Why could something like this happen? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

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Tags: math and science

Posted Wed, 1 Aug 2012 at 7:57 am
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Did the title of this post make you say, "Yeah, sure!"? Even if you're a person who doesn't enjoy math, I hope that today's post will make you laugh at least several times.

One reason this topic came to my mind is that a high school classmate recently posted on his Facebook a link to the obituary of one of our high school math teachers - Mr. Don Mathews. Mr. Mathews taught me Algebra 2 and Math 4 my junior and senior years. I felt bad for laughing out loud as I read his obit, but I couldn't help it! One thing in it was just so hilarious — "He leaves behind his wife, Ruth, of 49.926 years." I had to wonder if Mr. Mathews helped write his own obituary. ๐

In honor of a very gifted teacher, I am posting some mathematical humor that has accumulated in my files.

Since the 2012 Summer Olympics are going on right now, here's a picture that seems just wrong.

An employee in the store below needs some help with his math facts.

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Posted Wed, 2 Nov 2011 at 6:54 am
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I've received some great jokes in my e-mail recently. The ones I'm posting today all seemed to be scenarios that were crazy enough to actually happen or were maybe even fairly likely to occur. I'll leave it to you to decide, as you read these, what the chances are of these events' happening in real life. Whether these scenarios are likely or not, I found them all humorous and predict that you'll chuckle at least once as you read this. Read on and tell me if I'm wrong.

A van carrying a dozen movie stuntmen on the way to a film location in the mountains spun out of control on the icy road, crashed through a guard-rail, rolled down a 90-foot embankment, turned over, and burst into flames.

There were no injuries.

One day in Little Johnny's kindergarten class, his teacher was telling them the story of the three little pigs. They were at the part when the first pig needed to build his house.

"Then," the teacher said, "the first little pig needed straw to build his house. Along the road he saw a farmer carrying a bail of straw. So the little pig walked up to the farmer and asked him if he could borrow his straw to build a house. Then class, do you know what the farmer said?"

Little Johnny immediately raised his hand and waved it furiously.

"Yes, Johnny?" said the teacher.

He replied, "I know! I know! The farmer said, 'WOW! A TALKING PIG!!!'"

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Tags: jokes · math and science

Posted Mon, 18 Oct 2010 at 6:44 am
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Some people have a great mind for math, and some don't. Until my last year of high school, I enjoyed my math classes very much and even did math problems from old textbooks from the late 1800's, just for fun. (So I was a nerd, okay?) ๐ The further I went in math in high school, though, the less enjoyable it became to me. When Algebra 2 and Math 4 started going towards trig, sines, cosines, and calculus, it was beyond my interest and abilities and was really no longer fun. Now, besides grades for classes, the most I do with numbers is my game or two of Sudoku every evening. I loved base 2 in junior high, but I'm not sure how to solve the Sudoku puzzle from http://xkcd.com on the right.

I recently saw a pie chart that was an encouragement me for having abandoned Algebra, once I got deeper into it.

All joking aside, there really are many jobs that require one's being able to work accurately with numbers. For instance, if an engineer's calculations are off even slightly, the results can be disastrous, as seen below.

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Tags: math and science · optical illusions