Algebra word problem experience but would give the class a good laugh

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At the end of this story is an algebra problem. As is done in this

story, let the students assign letters and make equations, and then

translate the equations in English. Have the students make predictions

as the result of their findings. This would not only be a good

algebra word problem experience but would give the class a good laugh

and experience in critical thinking.

Do you have a thinking problem?


>> It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now

>and then

>> to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and

>soon I was

>> more than just a social thinker.


>> I began to think alone - "to relax," I told myself. But I knew it


>> true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I


>> thinking all the time.


>> I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment

>don't mix,

>> but I couldn't stop myself.


>> I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and

>Kafka. I

>> would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it


>> we are doing here?"


>> Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had

>turned off

>> the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that

>night at

>> her mother's.


>> I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called

>me in.

>> He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your


>> has become a real problem.


>> "If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another


>> This gave me a lot to think about.


>> I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I


>> "I've been thinking..."


>> "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"


>> "But Honey, surely it's not that serious."


>> "It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as


>> professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you

>keep on

>> thinking we won't have any money!"


>> "That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to

>cry. I'd

>> had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out

>the door.


>> As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, a poster

>caught my

>> eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.


>> You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard


>> Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering

>thinker. I

>> never miss a TA meeting.


>> At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was

>> "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking

>since the

>> last meeting.


>> I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just

>> seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.


>> >>>>>>>>

>> But have you seen the scientific explanation for why his wife was so


>> about his thinking?

>> >>>>>>>>


>> After applying some simple algebra to some trite phrases and cliches

>a new

>> understanding can be reached of the secret to wealth and success.


>> Here it goes.


>> Knowledge is Power

>> Time is Money and as every engineer knows,

>> Power is Work over Time.


>> So, substituting algebraic equations for these time worn bits of

>wisdom, we

>> get:

>> K = P (1)

>> T = M (2)

>> P = W/T (3)


>> Now, do a few simple substitutions:


>> Put W/T in for P in equation (1), which yields:

>> K = W/T (4)


>> Put M in for T into equation (4), which yields:


>> K = W/M (5).


>> Now we've got something. Expanding back into English, we get:


>> Knowledge equals Work over Money.


>> What this MEANS is that:


>> 1. The More You Know, the More Work You Do, and

>> 2. The More You Know, the Less Money You Make.


>> Solving for Money, we get:


>> M = W/K (6)

>> Money equals Work Over Knowledge.


>> From equation (6) we see that Money approaches infinity as Knowledge

>> approaches 0, regardless of the Work done.


>> What THIS MEANS is:


>> The More you Make, the Less you Know.


>> Solving for Work, we get


>> W = M K (7)

>> Work equals Money times Knowledge


>> From equation (7) we see that


>> Work approaches 0 as Knowledge approaches 0.


>> What THIS MEANS is:


>> The stupid rich do little or no work.


>> Working out the socioeconomic implications of this breakthrough is

>left as

>> an exercise for the reader.

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