Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Word Problems

When I was in school we used to call them “story problems.” The textbook people tricked you into thinking you were going to hear a story, when behind their clever words lay an evil math problem.

And I hated them.

Almost every math concept could be forced into a story problem. To make matters worse, the textbook people added extra information or purposely left out necessary facts just to make you sweat!

Perhaps I spent too much time substitute teaching this year because it’s all coming back to haunt me, and I’m starting to describe events in terms of story problems. So here are a few math exercises disguised as weekend highlights.


  1. On Wednesday Little Letellier and his mother were packing for a 3 day 2 night summer camp. His mother packed two pairs of clean underwear, one for each night. At the last minute she packed one more pair “just in case.” Little Letellier was wearing one clean pair of underwear when he left for camp. When Little Letellier returned from camp on Friday he had three clean pair of underwear in his backpack. He was also wearing one pair. How many times did Little Letellier change his undies while at camp? How do you know? Explain your answer.

  1. Mr. Letellier had been training for The Big Mick—a 109 mile bike ride through the Black Hills. He and two friends started the ride at 5:45 AM MST and made four stops. If they averaged 14 mph and arrived at the finish at 5:45PM CST, did they burn all the calories they consumed at the pancake breakfast? Approximately how long did they linger at each stop? What is the probability that Mr. Letellier will ride the same race next year? How long will it be before Mr. Letellier gets on a bicycle again?

  1. While Mr. Letellier was riding his bike Mrs. Letellier went to the mall. She stopped first at The Buckle.  She was the oldest one in the store and nothing struck her fashion fancy. The last time Mrs. Letellier shopped at The Buckle it was actually called The Brass Buckle. Approximately how old is Mrs. Letellier? How ridiculous do you suppose Mrs. Letellier felt asking a 15 year-old about jeans sizes? Is it immoral to charge $62 for a pair of shorts? Based on what you know about Mrs. Letellier’s spending habits, do you think she paid $62 for a pair of shorts?

Please show your work in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Ha! I know this one because even though I did not raise boys, I have heard of this work-saving tactic before. Shelly will tell you that after Mark's first church camp experience he returned home with all his clothes still clean and neatly folded just like the day he left.
    2. I think I could answer this one if I could just see how Mr. Letellier is walking today! (Congrats on your finish, Kurt!) : )
    3. This one is a tuffy! However, I can answer the last part: Yes, it's immoral, and Mrs. Letellier will continue to wear last year's capris!
    Thanks for the laughs, Shauna! We loved it!

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