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Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

20:19
First real teaching with Saturday program 

A bit less well-planned than I'd originally hoped. I started out by giving them a copy of the David Rhodes make money fast chain letter and had them read over it. "Does this really work?" some of them asked. "Well, we're going to do the math and find out," I replied. So we worked through a few scenarios, found that the claimed return on the letter was actually less than what would be expected given their claimed response rate (15 out of 200). Then we kept the math going to find out that it didn't take long before we ran out of US residents, and then people on earth. (I gave the students, as a homework assignment, the task of looking up the populations of our city, state, the US and the world... this in itself is an interesting assignment).

From there we were able to look at some basics of functions, exponential notation, and we finished by seeing that we could solve xn=c by taking c1/n. I had hoped to get to logarithims in this lesson, but there wasn't time so we'll do that next week (we'll vary the model we use to go to six degrees of separation).

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