Math Lesson: Summer Math

Published by patrick honner on

My latest contribution to the New York Times Learning Network is a collection of activities for having some summer fun with math!

I will definitely be enjoying the quantitative aspects of the Olympics this year, and I may just embark upon a personal data study like Stephen Wolfram did!

Any other ways to have fun with math over the summer?

Categories: NYTTeaching

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York

1 Comment

Brian Xiao · April 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I found “Retailer’s Prediction” very interesting. Those, who freaked out about the practice of Target, signed up for Target’s coupon email to save money. Target profiling its consumers helps them to save money.The only problem is that the consumer privacy is “invaded.”

Correct me if my following analogies are wrong.
Ice cream sellers employ the same strategy used by Target. A seller park his ice cream truck near a park during summer. He sees parents playing with their children. So he gathered the info about those adults, that they have children, who love ice creams. So the ice cream truck music starts playing. The music is no different from the coupon email. They both signal the potential buyers that there is goods that suits their need.

Are the privacy of parents invaded? The ice cream seller certainly is targeting the parents, knowing that they have children. Same situation for Target, Target knows that some of its costumers are pregnant. Well, if Target’s practice invades costumers’ privacy, the ice cream seller would also have invaded the parents’ privacy. And there should be a law that regulate ice cream trucks. The price of goods are ignored here, because those, who dislike Target’s practice, concern only about their privacy.

A burger joint’s practice will naturally to end up with Target’s practice. Say the burger joint first sold burger and soda separately. A period into business, the burger owner noticed that, when its customers purchase burgers, most of time they also order soda. So the owner figures that most of costumers like to have a meal with a drink. So the owner bundled burger and soda together, and sold the bundle at a price a bit cheaper than if they were bought separately. And the burger joint starts sending out flyer with coupons attached about the bundle in its neighborhood. Target does the same thing, just in a bigger scale. First notice what goods each of its consumers likes, and then advertise its discount of goods that each consumer most likely want. If Target is guilty for profiling its consumers, then lets pass a law to regulate burger joint , because it too has profiled its customers and use the info to its advantage.

Also the people who freak out about profiling consumers maybe influenced by the word choice when they are told about this issue.Two way of telling Target’s practice to its email subscribers.

“Did you know Target personalize you email coupons by giving you coupons of goods that are similar, or have association to the good you bought from Target in the past, Target is trying to help you save in the future?”

The question inform the subscribers about Target profiling its consumers, yet, this question is almost parsing Target for humanizing shopping.We can also give the same information in this way.

“Did you know Target tracts your shopping habits, it can figure out the state you are in, such as if you are pregnant or not, based on the things you buy, and sent coupons of goods that you would most likely need to get you come back to shop more?”

Everything has two sides. Lets look at the good side more often. If consumers weren’t not told about this issue, they would proceed shopping in Target happily. If Target’s practice brings concern, then I think more attention should be placed on plane tickets. There should be a law to regulate plane tickets in vacation month. Target’s practice at least give you cheaper price for goods that you need, but plane tickets are most expensive when you need it the most.

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