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News from Mathnasium of Downtown Silver Spring

Word Problem Wednesday: A Challenge You Can Sink Your Teeth Into!

Jun 25, 2019

Q: Why are dentists such good problem solvers?
A: They’re experienced at getting to the root of a problem.

You know who else is experienced at getting to the root of a problem? Mathematicians! That’s right, the critical thinking skills you sharpen when you study math help you work through and solve just about any problem that comes your way! 

This week, get your math tutoring on the go with our word problem challenge! Practice your elementary school math skills such as multiplication and division, addition and subtraction, and fractions. Read the question below, then take your time working it through until you come to a solution. When you're ready, look below to check your solution against ours! 

Question: A bathroom sink runs at 2.25 gallons per minute. Daisy uses a cup of water total each time she brushes her teeth. Jack leaves the faucet running for the full 3 minutes it takes him to brush and rinse. How much more water does Jack use each day if both of them brush their teeth 3 times a day?


Solution: Jack leaves the faucet running for 3 minutes, 3 times a day. That’s 9 minutes. That means he uses 2¼ × 9 = 21¼ gallons of water to brush his teeth each day. Next, we need to know how many cups that is. There are 16 cups in a gallon, so Jack uses 20¼ × 16 = 324 cups of water. That’s 324 – 3 = 321 more than Daisy.