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Wow, I pitty (don't pitty) my students

  1. Mar 13, 2010 #1

    Pengwuino

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    So one of my labs I teach at my university this semester is an elementary astronomy course. The course is suppose to be a fun version of a physics course, for general education and all that. About every week, there is a quiz. Last week's lab was on exponential growth/decay and in the lecture I went over how to compute interest. My example, of course, was how Fry on Futurama opened a bank account with like $10 or $5 or something in the year 2000 and in the year 3000 it was worth $10 billion or something and I showed them step by step that after 1 year it was worth 1.02x as much and the next year 1.02*1.02 times as much and so on and so forth and showed them in general its 1.02^n with n being the number of years.

    Well, the next week I gave them a quiz where I asked them if you have $10,000 in a bank account sitting aroudn for 10 years at 3% annual interest, how much do you expect to have?

    I think 2 out of 30 people got it right, 4 were close (and by close, im including the people who literally just multiplied $10,000 by 0.03 to get 300 and added up 10 years worth... that is to say, they didnt understand compound interest).

    What do you do with students like these? I want to figure out the best way to tell them that all your financial matters for the rest of your life follow this concept. I think I might tell them not to look like those morons on dateline who buy a new car and add a new section to their house and what have you "and before you know it, after a few years, I had a quarter million dollars in debt".

    Then again maybe thanks to Excel and loan calculators and what have you, the people of this world's abysmal mathematical skills won't play too big a role in teh fall of society.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2010 #2
    Face it, you're a horrible teacher.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2010 #3

    Pengwuino

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    I missed you Cyrus.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2010 #4

    Evo

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    My ex husband graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in economics and started an MBA at Harvard. I complained that (after he drained away my life savings) that we didn't even have a savings account. So he came home and slapped a savings bank book on the counter with $2,000 in it. I asked him where he got the money. He said he wrote a check off of one of my credit card accounts he had opened (it had a 23% annual interest rate). The savings account had an annual 5% interest rate. I told him to close the account, pay the penalty and apply the money left back to the card.

    He didn't get it.

    True story.
     
  6. Mar 13, 2010 #5
    Luckly in the future robots will do everything and we can just sit back and let our brain melt.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2010 #6
    I am having hard time understanding how that can happen.
     
  8. Mar 13, 2010 #7

    Evo

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    So am I. I won't go into how he forged my name to enough pre-approved credit cards that he ran up $292,000 worth of credit card debt in my name without me knowing. Sorry, I'm dragging the thread off topic. I just meant to show how we can't assume people understand finances, even if that's what they are educated in.

    Oh ok, I've gone this far, then there was the time the bank closed our checking account and issued an arrest warant for him. He was moving all of our money into a savings account at that time and not leaving enough in the checking account to cover the checks he was writing. I paid off the checks and convinced the bank to drop charges, I told them he wasn't a criminal, he was just stupid. They wouldn't re-open our account though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  9. Mar 13, 2010 #8
    That does sound like an MBA in economoics evo.
     
  10. Mar 13, 2010 #9

    turbo

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    Now THAT is pathetic! Apparently, Ivy-League schools take your money and degree you without bothering to educate you.
     
  11. Mar 13, 2010 #10

    BobG

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    Some people have nothing but puty where most people have brains.

    And Ivy League schools never educate their students. The trick is to only accept students that are smart enough to educate themselves. It cuts down on costs, people capable of educating themselves are usually successful, and having many successful graduates allows you to charge higher tuition.

    Unfortunately, an occasional mistake is made during the screening process for accepting students.
     
  12. Mar 13, 2010 #11

    Pengwuino

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    I think you have that backwards.
     
  13. Mar 13, 2010 #12
    It goes to show that sometimes you never really know the person who is supposed to be the most closest thing to you in the world (children notwithstanding). It may be years before you get to see who is your SO. Humans are generally lousy judges of (self)-character.


    Its a pity that you had to go through such experiences , Evo.
     
  14. Mar 13, 2010 #13

    Danger

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    Actually, he was. And stupid...
    It seems that his only intelligent act was to marry the hottest chick on the planet.
     
  15. Mar 13, 2010 #14

    turbo

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    Have you noticed that DanP has too few "t"s to post properly because *someone* used too many? Letter rationing - it ain't pretty!
     
  16. Mar 13, 2010 #15

    Evo

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    Did you see your birthday thread?
     
  17. Mar 13, 2010 #16

    BobG

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    Really, he had to change his username. Yesterday, his username was DanT.

    First we ran out of _'s and had to start calling him Danty DanT. Now we have to call him DanP.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2010 #17

    Danger

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    I wasn't aware of it. I haven't been around much lately, and then only in Engineering. Will seek it out forthwith.
     
  19. Mar 13, 2010 #18

    turbo

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    I must fight the urge to post about pickled peppers...
     
  20. Mar 13, 2010 #19
    The ones I pity the most are those who can't read people. Not understanding numbers is nothing compared to that.
     
  21. Mar 13, 2010 #20

    Moonbear

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    The bigger question is why are you trying to teach elementary astronomy students how to calculate interest? C'mon, they didn't take the class to learn math, they took it to learn how to tell horoscopes and read tarot cards. :rolleyes: Sheesh.
     
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