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How Math Has Changed

1960s arithmetic test: "a logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of that amount. What is his profit"'

"70s new-math test: "A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of Set M is 100. The Set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points. What is the cardinality of Set P of profits"'

"80s 'dumbed down? version: "A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost is $80, his profit is $20. Find and circle the number 20.'

"90s version: "An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 trees in order to make a $20 profit. Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way to make money. Topic for discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel"?

From Illustration Digest, quoted in Reader's Digest, January 1996, p. 82.