Friday, June 26, 2009

Math problem of the week: 19th century algebra vs. Contemporary Math in Context

1. From the first algebra problem set in New School Algebra (George Wentworth), published in 1989, p. 22, "Simple Equations":

A man has x dollars and y dimes and z cents. If he spends a half-dollars and b quarters, how many cents has he left?

A train is running at the rate of a miles an hour. How many miles will it travel in m hours?

A rectangular floor is a feet long and b feet wide In the middle of the floor there is a square carpet c feet on a side. How many square yards of the floor are bare?

2. From the second to last algebra problem set (the one that precedes graphing and the "Spiral Reviews") in Core-Plus Mathematics Contemporary Mathematics in Context, "Algebra: Variables and Expressions," p. 40:

Evaluate each expression if x = 7, y = 15, and z = 8

xz - 2y + 8

z2 + 5y - 20

3y(40x) - 1000

3. Extra Credit: Which century most favors rote computation?

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