Click here for the Problem Extension Worksheet version of the Problems of the Week.
Click here for an MS Word version of the Problems of the Week.
Click here for the Canadian Problem Extension Worksheet version of the Problems of the Week.
Click here for a Canadian MS Word version of the Problems of the Week.

Lower Elementary:
Question: John is older than Michael. Wendy is older than John. If Michael is 3 years old and Wendy is 12 years old, could John be 120 months old?
Answer: Yes
Solution: There are 12 months in a year, so John must be 10 years old because 12 months 10 times is 120 months. Since 10 years is older than Michael’s 3 years and younger than Wendy’s 12 years, that means John could be 120 months old.

Upper Elementary:
Question: A fairy can fly 16 miles per hour. If the fairy leaves for Neverland at 8:03 PM and gets there at 7:33 AM, then how far away is Neverland?
Answer: 184 miles
Solution: From 8:03 PM to 7:33 AM is 11½ hours. So, the fairy travels a total distance of 16 × 11½ = 16 × 11 + 16 × ½ = 176 + 8 = 184 miles.

Middle School:
Question: Wendy and the Lost Boys are taking turns reading each other a bedtime story. Wendy reads 50% of the story. Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, and Curly each read 50% of the number of pages that are left on each of their turns. Finally, the twins each read 50% of the remaining pages. What percentage of the story has been read by the time it’s the twins’ turn to read?
Answer: 96.875%
Solution: After Wendy reads, 50% of the pages are left to read. After Tootles, 50% × 50% = 25% are left. After Nibs, 50% × 25% = 12.5% are left. After Slightly, 50% × 12.5% = 6.25% are left. After Curly, 50% × 6.25% = 3.125% are left. So, by the time it’s the twins’ turn to read, 3.125% of the pages are left, which means 100% – 3.125% = 96.875% of the story has been read.

Algebra and Up:
Question: A swimmer is 20 meters from a boat. A crocodile is 30 meters behind the swimmer. If the crocodile swims 4 meters per second and the swimmer swims 2 meters per second, will the crocodile catch the swimmer before he reaches the boat?
Answer: No
Solution: The crocodile swims 4 – 2 = 2 meters per second faster than the swimmer. So, the crocodile gets 2 meters closer to the swimmer each second. It takes the swimmer 20 meters ÷ 2 meters per second = 10 seconds to reach the boat. In that time, the crocodile gets 10 seconds × 2 meters per second = 20 meters closer to the swimmer. Since they were 30 meters apart to begin with, the crocodile does not catch the swimmer.