Word Problem Wednesday: The Wizarding World

Aug 26, 2020

 

People have been infatuated with the wizarding world depicted in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, from famous sites such as Hogwarts and Diagon Alley to household charms, magical creatures, and the international sport played on flying broomsticks — Quidditch! 

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, check their solution against ours on the next page.

Introduction

In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” readers follow Harry, a young orphan who discovers he is a wizard, as he navigates a hidden magical world. Readers learn about the cultures and governments of witches and wizards and are shown their everyday lives such as how they get around, their favorite sports teams, and the types of money they use. What kind of math-related questions might they encounter on a typical day? Let’s find out in this week’s word problem!


Lower Elementary:
Question: A gold coin is worth the same amount as 17 silver coins or 493 copper coins. Put the following in order from least valuable to most valuable: a book that costs 7 silver coins, a magical wand that costs 7 gold coins, and a chocolate frog that costs 7 copper coins.

Upper Elementary:
Question: A train leaves London for a small town in Scotland at 11:00 a.m. The train takes a 540-mile route and reaches its destination at 5:00 p.m. What was the train’s average speed during its journey to Scotland?

Middle School:
Question: A feather is floating 76.2 centimeters off the ground. How many feet off the ground is the feather?

Algebra and Up:
Question: Four teams have just finished a yearlong competition. The Serpents scored 32 points more than 1.25 times the number of points scored by the Badgers. The Badgers scored 3 less than 56 the number of points scored by the Eagles. The Serpents, Eagles, and Badgers scored a total of 1,250 points between the three of them. The Lions won the competition by 10 points. How many points did the Lions score?

 

Solutions

Excellent job on today’s word problem! Are you ready to check your answer? Look below to see if your solution matches ours.

Lower Elementary:
Answer: the chocolate frog, the book, the wand
Solution: We can tell that each silver coin is worth less than a gold coin because it takes more of them to have the same value as a gold coin. The copper coins are worth even less because it takes even more of them. Since each object costs the same number of coins but the coins are worth different amounts, the object that is valued in gold coins is worth the most, the object valued in silver coins is in the middle, and the object valued in copper coins is worth the least.

Upper Elementary:
Answer: 90 miles per hour
Solution: Since 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is 6 hours, the train takes 6 hours to get from London to the small town in Scotland. If we divide 540 miles by 6 hours, we get 90 miles per hour. So, the train’s average speed during its journey is 90 miles per hour.

Middle School:
Answer: 212 feet
Solution: First, we convert centimeters to inches. There are 2.54 centimeters per inch, so 76.2 centimeters is 76.2 ÷ 2.54 = 30 inches. There are 12 inches in a foot, so 30 inches is 30 ÷ 12 = 212 feet.

Algebra and Up:
Answer: 482 points
Solution: First, we set up a system of equations for the points scored by the Serpents, the Badgers, and the Eagles:
= 1.25+ 32
56– 3
= 1,250
When we solve this system, we get = 472, = 352, and = 426. Since is the greatest value so far and we know that the Lions beat that score by 10 points, the Lions must have scored 472 + 10 = 482 points.

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