by Kathleen Szoke
1. Ann has five apples and John has four apples. Brian has no apples. They ask Ann’s mother to make a pie with the apples. She bakes the pie using all but one of the apples. The pie is divided into eight pieces. The children each have one piece of pie. When they ask for seconds Ann’s mother divides the remaining pieces in half and gives them one each. Ann’s mother has one piece herself, even though she promised herself she wouldn’t. When Ann’s father comes home at 9:37 he goes to the fridge, removes the pie and eats the remaining pieces. Ann’s mother checks the fridge at 11:23 and finds the empty pie plate. She eats a piece of cold leftover chicken instead. The remaining apple sits in a bowl on the kitchen table.
2. Sandra, Peter and Mary are at a party. Peter and Mary are standing 0.9 metres apart. Sandra and Peter are 2.1 metres apart and Sandra and Mary are 3.7 metres apart. Peter begins moving in a straight line towards a point halfway between Mary and Sandra. When he reaches that point he keeps going past it until he reaches the bar. After getting his drink he begins to move back along in the direction he came from. At the same time Mary and Sandra each begin moving in a path that will intersect with Peter’s. Sandra, being closer, reaches him first. Peter and Sandra stop. They are now standing 1.1 metres from each other. Mary continues for 0.4 metres and then stops. Peter and Sandra are now, respectively, 2.8 metres and 3 metres from Mary. Peter turns 37° to his right and reduces the distance between himself and Mary by 1.8 metres. Sandra turns and moves back to her original position. She is now an equal distance from Peter and Mary. She is 2.3 metres from the door.
3. Michael is standing on the train platform. He has a ticket for the 3:43 pm train. It is 3:37 pm. The train is halfway between this station and the previous one, moving at 80 km/hr. Beth is standing on the platform of the next station, 7 km down the line. She is waiting for Michael. The train stops at Michael’s station. It then accelerates out of the station, achieves its cruising speed, then decelerates into Beth’s station, averaging 37 km/hr during the trip. It arrives at 4:08. It is late. The doors of the train open. There are 6 cars with 2 doors each, and 33 people disembark from the train. Michael is not one of them. Beth waits for 2 more trains before leaving the station at 5:17.
Word Problems was originally published in Qwerty, Fall 2009.