Word Problems of the Week: James and the Giant Peach

Aug 19, 2020 | Richmond BC

Spark your child’s imagination with this week’s word problems themed around the famous children’s novel “James and the Giant Peach.”

Read the introduction below with your child. Then, choose the word problem that’s the right skill level for them and have them give it a try. When they feel they’ve found the answer, scroll down to check their solution against ours on the next page.

Introduction

According to Roald Dahl’s novel, “James and the Giant Peach,” an orphan named James makes a getaway inside a giant peach that he and the magic bugs that live inside roll out to the sea. James and the insects go on great and terrifying adventures using the peach as a ship as well as their source of food. Let’s look at a math problem related to these characters and their fantastical journey!

Lower Elementary:
Question: Put the following in order from smallest to largest: a giant grasshopper that weighs 245 pounds, a giant ladybug that weighs 399 pounds, a giant centipede that weighs 150 pounds, and a giant peach that weighs 8 tons.

Upper Elementary:
Question: Eight friends each eat a pound of peach each day. If they’re eating a giant peach that weighs 8 tons and the pit of the peach weighs half a ton, then how many days will it take for the friends to eat the whole peach?

Middle School:
Question: A centipede, a glowworm, a grasshopper, and a ladybug all have different favorite foods: curry, hot dogs, noodles, and roast beef. Neither the glowworm nor the grasshopper prefers curry. Neither the centipede nor the ladybug prefers noodles. The ladybug had trouble choosing between hot dogs and noodles as a favorite. The grasshopper almost chose roast beef. Match each bug with its favorite food.

Algebra and Up:
Question: It takes 13 hours for a flock of seagulls to carry a giant peach 260 miles in windy conditions. If the seagulls are flying into the wind, which is slowing their progress by 5 miles per hour, then how fast can the seagulls transport the peach in still conditions?

Solutions

Lower Elementary:
Solution: The first thing we need to notice is that, even though the peach has the smallest number representing its weight, it’s weighed in tons. A ton is 2,000 pounds, so the peach is by far the heaviest. The smallest is the centipede at 150 pounds, the next larger bug is the grasshopper at 245 pounds, and the largest of the bugs is the ladybug at 399 pounds.

Upper Elementary: