Monday, March 14, 2016

A Free Excerpt from Father Knows Nothing: Pi Day

Today is 3/14, which my math-genius son calls "Pi Day" (The first few digits of Pi are 3.14). In honor of "Pi Day" about seven years ago, I wrote a math-oriented Father Knows Nothing column for him. He hated it. I'm not sure why...

These simple story problems will not only help your child with math, they will help explain the frustration that eventually emerges in all parents.

Remember, boys and girls, to show your work.

#1: One of Freddy’s jobs is to make sure he changes his underwear every day. If his mother does the laundry every Friday, and there is only one pair of Freddy’s underwear in the laundry, how many days has Freddy neglected to do his job that week?

#2: George is a very bright boy. He gets 100% on every paper he turns in, but he only turns in seven of the ten papers that were due. If each paper is worth 100 points, and he receives zero points on every paper he doesn’t turn in, what is his final grade for the class?

#3: Billy has been brushing his teeth all by himself twice a day (morning and night) since the day he turned three years old. Unfortunately, Billy never remembers to do this until his parents remind him, and each time they need to remind him three times. By the time Billy reaches his 15th birthday, how many times have his parents had to remind him to brush his teeth?

#4: Sissy and her mother go to the supermarket to buy vegetables. Her mother asks the grocer how many different types of vegetables he sells, and the grocer replies “70.” Of these 70 varieties of vegetables, only three can be served on a plate to Sissy without inducing loud whining. What percentage of the available vegetables will Sissy eat without making dinner miserable for everyone around her?

#1: 6 days in one week (85.7% of the week)
#2: C Minus
#3: 52,560 times
#4: 4.28571% of available vegetable varieties

Bonus Question: If you had been a parent for many years, and your children didn’t do their jobs 6 out of 7 days a week, got below average grades despite being really smart, had to be reminded to do the simplest of tasks like brushing teeth more than 50,000 times, and complained at the dinner table more than 95% of the time, how quickly would you lose your temper if one of those things happened again?

Bonus Answer: “Please don’t interrupt me now, Dad, I’m doing my homework in my fresh new pair of underwear. We can chat right after I eat my spinach and brush my teeth. Until then, please tell my brother I love him.”