Class 2 – Thursday, January 30, 2014

About this blog. One student left a comment on yesterday’s entry (“yesterday” is Tuesday since today is Thursday and the class meets TTh). In class I found out another had visited. Maybe more will. Maybe some will even find it helpful.

Between a quarter and a third of the class today wasn’t there yesterday, I worried/wondered whether that would be a problem since I couldn’t fairly assume I could move on from last time. I think it worked anyway.

After some administrative nonsense I handed out two of the homework problems to get started on. The first was the bumper sticker

Exercise 1.8.2. [U]  A bumper sticker available in 2007 at claims that

   Every Minute the World Spends $700,000 on War
   While 30 children Die of Hunger & Inadequate Health Care
Are the figures $700,000 and 30 children believable?


I told the class the [U] meant “untested” – I’ve never assigned this exercise. Tom and I walked around the room helping groups of 2 or 3 students tackle the question. Two interesting observations. One student said she’d just try to google the answer (if she could, but couldn’t in the classroom) – and was that legal? Answer (for the whole class): “yes”. The course is supposed to model the quantitative part of life, where any tool that helps you is OK. The second observation makes me wonder … one student was multiplying 42,000 by 24 as part of his work. I suggested that he round to 40*25, do 4 * 25 in his head and then tack on the four zeroes. He understood the zeroes part but said he couldn’t multiply 4*25 without writing it out on paper. I discovered (unsurprisingly) that he knew four quarters made a dollar, that a quarter was 25 pennies and a dollar 100 – but still said he couldn’t do the multiplication without writing it down.

Several nice things came from the discussion afterwards.

The class is to turn in answers to this exercise even though we started it in class. Students who visit this blog will have a leg up on part of it. They should credit this source, of course.

Looking forward to tomorrow (i.e. Tuesday).


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