- #1

Pengwuino

Gold Member

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- 15

## Main Question or Discussion Point

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.

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.