The supposed lower bound for your date’s age in order to avoid being creepy. Relevant Wikipedia and XKCD links.

Although I’m not a teacher, I’ve been an assistant of sorts, and this has been a good topic of conversation for my students on several levels:

  1. This is a function in disguise: the boring F(x) becomes tangible (Dating! Boys! Girls!) It quickly becomes «What’s the youngest I can date right now?»
  2. Obvious followup: «What’s the oldest I can date? How to figure it out?» Although not a complicated problem, I’ve seen how this helps some students understand the simplest algebraic manipulations
  3. I’ve often hinted that this problem hides a surprise: the absolute youngest age at which you can date. I ask them to figure out the youngest you can date if you’re 12 years old. The rule spits out an answer but, does it make sense? When they graph these patterns it becomes clear that before 14, this rule makes no sense: your lower bound is larger than your upper bound. Cue lesson on actually analyzing your results
  4. Sometimes (with older students) there comes a deeper question on what exactly is a model in sciences. «Do these results feel correct to you? Would you date someone at the absolute lower/upper bound? If not, what good is this rule?» I’ve heard them discuss on the shores of «All models are wrong but some are useful».

Of course, this only happens with those with a modicum of interest in math problems.

Across The UniverseAndy’s Brevity Quest 2019 (266 words) → Sloane's gap

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