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News from Mathnasium of Downtown Silver Spring

Word Problem Wednesday: The First Recorded Female Mathematician

Jun 25, 2019

Hypatia was a Greek mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and lecturer, and one of the first female mathematicians in recorded history. She taught classes in how to construct astrolabes and hydrometers, and her public lectures drew record crowds for the time. As a charismatic mathematician, Hypatia is an inspiration for math teachers and tutors in math! 

This week, your favorite kids math program has a word problem challenge that will inspire you! Practice your elementary school math skills such as addition, subtraction, and conversion from hours to minutes. Read the question below and take your time working it out. We know you can do it! Check below when you're ready to check your solution against ours.

Question: In the morning, Hypatia gave 2–hour lectures about mathematics. Midday, she lectured about philosophy for 2 hours and 45 minutes. In the afternoon, she gave hour–and–a–half lectures about astronomy. In the evening, she again lectured about mathematics for 2 hours and 50 minutes. How much time did Hypatia spend lecturing each day?


Solution: If we add the number of whole hours Hypatia lectured, we get 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 7 hours. If we add the minutes, we get 45 + 30 + 50 = 125 minutes, or 2 hours and 5 minutes. That means that Hypatia lectured for 7 hours + 2 hours + 5 minutes = 9 hours and 5 minutes.