#MakeItReal Moment Number 12

Measuring Priceless

So…this just happened.


I love incredible events like this, so when I saw a former math professor of mine post about it on facebook and noticed the first comment, I had to take action.


Instant Relevance is the idea of using what’s happening now, and what matters to you and your students, to engage in excellent opportunities to learn. I couldn’t pass this one up. So I took the straightforward route and went to my calculator and treated this like a simple interest investment. The formula for simple interest is I = PxRxT, or the Interest (earned amount) is equal to the Principal (starting amount) multiplied by the interest rate and the time. We know three out of those four things. What we have is this:

$450,312,500 = $59 x R x 58 years.

To start solving for the interest rate, divide the interest by both the $59 and the 58 years and you end up with 131,593.37, which is a ridiculously large number for a percent, and isn’t even really all that helpful yet. You see, in most of these problems, our answer comes out to be something like 0.05, which means the rate is 5%. So the ACTUAL interest rate needed to return this kind of investment is 100 times greater than what we got. In other words, 13,159,337% interest.

Image result for but wait there's more


I didn’t ask my math professor where he got the $59 from, so I checked. The painting sold for 45 Pounds in 1958, which, it turns out, converts to $59 in today’s money, but with inflation, is $125 in 1958 money. So, time to start over!!!

$450,312,500 = $125 x R x 58 years

For a mere adjustment to the low, low interest rate of just 6,211,207%. 

Follow Up Questions:

Is Mark, the facebook commenter, right? How could it be so different and seemingly so much more reasonable than what I got?

How long would it take if we knew we had an absolute cap of 10% compounded annually?

How could you use this event in Art, Science, ELA, Social Studies and other classes?


So my question to you is this: How will you use this extraordinary circumstance and likely once in a lifetime opportunity to quantify “Priceless” in your classroom, before it’s no longer relevant? 


Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance


#MakeItReal Moment Number 10

Mixed Messages Mistakes happen all the time. I love taking the opportunity to learn from mistakes, and helping my students do the same. In fact, I’ve encouraged teachers to ONLY USE PEN on math problems! (What?!?!? Is he crazy?) You see, when students make a mistake on a math problem, …

Powerful Partner Extension for Slides Sorter…Hide Slides!

Hide Slides Chrome Extension According to the same valid statistical survey I recently made up, everybody loves Google Slides…everybody. Being web based, it’s easy to add videos, images, items from your google drive, find templates, and take Google’s own suggestions for display themes through their Explore function. But sometimes, as …

For Those About To Rock

For Those About To Rock… A guest post by Laura Steinbrink I’m excited to have Laura share her experience of running with an idea, taking it to new levels, and truly modeling the #MakeItReal message. Read her post below and share your comments with us here and on twitter with …

Eclipsing Learning

You Forgot To #MakeItReal Leadership can either help open the eyes of teachers and students to the learning opportunities that surround them, or they can completely cover those opportunities up and literally eclipse their potential value in a school.  Yesterday was the Great American Total Solar Eclipse-O-Rama of 2017. You …

#MakeItReal Moment Number 8

A Prompt Reply When you read the writing of past and current authors and poets, you often see that they are just describing the reality in front of them, only using words so flawlessly that the description transcends the reality itself. I felt like the reality in front of me …

Fidget Spinner Follow Up

Fidget Spinners Post = Tons of Great Ideas! If you haven’t read my most recent #MakeItReal Moment about Fidget Spinners, either look farther down the webpage or check it out here. To make a long story short, I’m against banning what kids love to do and all for finding creative …

#MakeItReal Moment: Number 6

Pyramid Scheme For today’s #MakeItReal Moment, I present to you…Yesterday’s Foxtrot Cartoon, by Bill Amend. Question 1: How many levels of the pyramid scheme are necessary before crossing the Million Stone threshold? Question 2: How big would each “stone” have to be to actually be able to build one of …

#MakeItReal Moment: Number 5

Is This For Real? Do you know who DanTDM is? For my #MinecraftEDU people out there, that’s likely a resounding YES! For other minecrafters, probably a YES as well. But if you don’t follow Minecraft, or especially follow it on Youtube, you might not know who DanTDM is. Here’s a …