Additional Math Pages & Resources

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Think math think math think

Henry Ford is quoted as saying,
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.

This quote makes sense to me. I don't think it was meant to be insulting, or ironic, or sarcastic. Thinking is hard work.

Ralph Waldo Emerson asked (and answered),
What is the hardest task in the world? To think.

Thomas Edison claimed,
There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labour of thinking.

We are told what to think, by our parents, our friends, the press, the entertainment world, the books we read, etc.  We don't have to believe what we are told or do what they say, but either route is less work than thinking out a path for ourselves. Perhaps one reason people don't like math is because it often requires hard thinking.

Sam Ewing said,
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.

Enough pithy quotes! You've turned up, it's Christmas break and it's time for nice difficult problems to engage your brain for the rest of the holiday season. Right? Even though 5th graders are the intended audience for this series of logic problems, it doesn't mean we adults can't solve them (if we are forced to!).

The human mind prefers to be spoon-fed with the thoughts of others, but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly, begin to think for itself. Agatha Christie

This is a chance to put our minds to work. Don't be afraid to write notes, cut out little horses, turn to the left or right in your chair - because these are not intended to be "in your head" puzzles.

Here's an example problem:

Johnny, Sara, Alex and Kathy are different ages.

1. Kathy is older than Sara.
2. Johnny is younger than Kathy but not the youngest.
3. Alex is the oldest.

What is the order of their ages?

(A, K, J, S)

Problem 1:
Julie, Emily, Drew and Mark have puppies named Fluffy, Molly, Randy and Cody.

1. Mark’s puppy’s name has the same first letter as Mark’s name.
2. Emily and Julie went to the movies with Randy’s owner yesterday.
3. Julie doesn’t own Cody.

Who owns each dog?

Problem 2:
Six horses ran a race: Duncan, Toby, Ella, Prancer, Caleb and Storm.

1. Prancer finished right behind Ella.
2. Toby was not first st or last.
3. Three horses came in between Storm and Caleb.
4. Duncan and Prancer finished on each side of Caleb.
5. Duncan did not finish first.

Give the finishing order, winner first.

Problem 3:
Jamie, Cory, Taylor and Sam are all employed. Their jobs are mechanic, teacher, doctor and astronaut.

1. Taylor is not the doctor or the mechanic.
2. Jamie is friends with the mechanic.
3. Cory is the astronaut.

Who has which job?

Problem 4:
Five people are in line at the grocery store: Arthur, Beth, Carrie, Diana and Eddie.

1. Beth is behind Arthur and Diana but isn’t last in line.
2. Beth and Carrie are on either side of Eddie.
3. Arthur is right behind Diana.

In what order are they standing?

Problem 5:
Carlos, Jan, Lisa and Bob are different heights.

1. Jan is not the tallest.
2. Carlos is shorter than Jan.
3. Lisa is shorter than Carlos.

Rank them in order from tallest to shortest.

Problem 6:
Five people live on 5 different floors of a 5-story apartment building. They are Dorian, Gary, Angel, Rosa and Kim.  

1. Rosa lives right below Dorian.  
2. Angel and Kim both live above Gary.  
3. Angel lives right below Rosa.
4. Kim doesn’t live on the top floor.

Starting at the ground floor, in what order do they live?

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.

The answers are Right Here.  Posted the day after Christmas.

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