Friday, May 28, 2010

Two Trains Leave From Different Cities

Fearless Maria asked me for help the other day with her math homework. It has been a long time since I studied geometry in school and I had a difficult time helping her. Frankly, as an adult, I mostly use just the basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percents and fractions.

Math in the real world often is a word problem. Some real world word problems are fun, like going shopping at the mall, finding something on the clearance rack, then applying a $10.00 coupon, and coming home with a new skirt and blouse to wear to work after only paying $20.00 for the whole outfit. Or, going to two different grocery stores, stocking up on lots of loss leaders, redeeming a bunch of coupons and saving $49.00 on the groceries.

Sometimes, the word problems are more complicated and have bigger implications. Should you take the standard deduction or itemize on your income tax? Should you refinance your mortgage? Should you take the $1000.00 manufaturer's rebate or 0% financing for 60 months on your new car? Did you make a mistake last month by not picking up the two upholstered chairs on someone's driveway that were marked FREE - 100% OFF?

As adults, many of us thought we were done doing math problems when we left school. Truth of the matter is we are still doing math problems on a daily basis.

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