If you had been a student in my grade six, seven or eight classrooms, these are typical of some of the mathematics problems I’d give you. Here’s your challenge: you have a week to work out your solutions. No help from your parents, your sister in high school, or your uncle. Be prepared to defend your work.
PROBLEM #1: A ship with 37 crew on board is in imminent danger of sinking. A rescue seaplane with a capacity of 12 passengers and just enough fuel to complete all the flights without refuelling is about to attempt evacuating the vessel. How many trips would be necessary to take all the crew to safety?
[By the way, the above situation is very true to life, repeating itself over and over in the annals of aviation search and rescue. Quite recently, the passengers of a Russian research vessel imprisoned in Antarctic ice had to be off-loaded in shifts by a rescue helicopter.]
PROBLEM #2: A cabin builder is about to work with a 37ft. timber. How many 12ft. beams can she make using her chainsaw?
PROBLEM #3: A 37mm titanium billet is to be used to make some 12mm precision components for space travel. How many lengths can be made from it?
PROBLEM #4: A fromagerie owner gets his cheddar in 37inch blocks and cuts it in 12in. segments. How much left over remains for his little white dog?
PROBLEM #5: A grocery store uses an electric scooter with a 37 km range to make deliveries. How many delivery trips can it make to customers who are 12 km distant to the north and to the south from the shop?
PROBLEM #6: A householder has saved up 37 nickels to use for ‘shell out’ treats to Hallowe’en callers. He intends to give them out in packets of 12. How many packets can he make up?
PROBLEM #7: A hiking outfitter has a supply of 37 energy bars for distribution to a party of 12 hikers. How many bars would each hiker receive?
Until next week, keep your pencils sharp, your computations precise and your answers clearly stated. You must not only think outside the box, you must also be prepared to use that box to stand upon as you present and defend the reasoning you used. Be sure to keep a copy of this column for future reference.
Send me an early bird e-mail with your comments and solutions.