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William Wolbert

Hands-on activities give students appreciation of real-world mathematics.

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William J. Wolbert

When a teacher finds a real-life application of mathematics, especially one to which every student in a class can relate, expounding on that application is certainly worthwhile. This article focuses on the concept of compound functions, as presented in a second-year algebra context, and on an application of this concept using the tax rate schedules from 1999. Teachers can adapt this activity to reflect current tax information.

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William J. Wolbert

One of my favorite lessons involves a nostalgic look at the past, in the years BC (Before Calculators). The properties of logarithms are readily reinforced using an ingenious tool from the past—the slide rule. Developed in the seventeenth century by William Oughtred and others, who built on the emerging work on logarithms by John Napier, the slide rule was used to multiply, divide, and find square roots and cube roots, among other arithmetic operations. Before the advent of the pocket calculator, it was the most commonly used calculation tool in science and engineering.