Our second book in the "Crack The Safe" logic series is now complete, and available for purchase!!! In Level 2, digits might (and might not) be repeated. So, to get your logic juices flowing, here's one of the early (i.e. easier) puzzles in the book. We'll follow with a tougher one later. If you enjoyed these (or if you need help learning to solve them) then our new book series Crack the Safe is now available. This new book contains 31 unique puzzles and includes full, detailed solutions.
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We had already started them on some light arithmetic, and I decided it wouldn't be bad to bring in some realworld consumer mathematics. So I started Sales Paper Math Days. Each day that we received a sales paper in the mail from the local grocery store, I sat down with my younger "math students" and we started looking at ads. One would inevitably point at the apples, and quickly ask if he could have one. "No right now," I would answer, "but can you tell me the price of one pound of apples? What about two pounds? Four pounds?" And so on. After going through the whole sales paper, I would give each of them a shopping list, and ask for the total price. Obviously, each list is tailored to the child's age, but I always try to include things like "Two of this item," or "Three pounds of that item." Though I can't claim to have produced savvy shoppers yet, and I still wouldn't trust them to pick out my groceries, they at least have a rough familiarity with going prices. They also see the usefulness (if they're being honest) of arithmetic. And I no longer have to worry about them forking over $78 for a dozen eggs! Activities (based on age) 1) Just read the sales paper for number recognition. 2) Ask easy arithmetic problems that arise while reading the sales paper (for example, "If one box costs this much, how much will two boxes cost?"). 3) Give a shopping list to the child, and have them calculate the total bill. Make sure and include multiple items like "Two of this item" or "Three pounds of that item." 4) Discuss the price per unit for different units (like dollars per pound, or cents per ounce). If the ad allows, have the child compare prices on similar items, and see which item is truly cheaper. If you like our puzzles and explanations, please visit our store and check out our problemsolving and logic puzzle books!
Though there are multitudes of interesting tidbits about Newton's life, we'll mention only two: one from his boyhood, and one from his later years. Tidbit #1: Did you know that Newton was at one point only a mediocre student? He was! He had little interest in what was being taught, and was too busy creating sundials and water clocks (he was always a great mechanic). Then one day Newton had a fight with a bully at school, and thrashed him. But beating up the bully wasn't enough for Newton. It galled him that the bully's marks were higher than his, so he decided to devote himself to the school's curriculum. Newton quickly excelled, attracted the teacher's attention, and then never looked back. Who says nothing good comes from a bully?! Tidbit #2: In his later years, Newton was actually entrusted with the integrity of England's currency. Seriously! It was originally supposed to be a symbolic appointment, meant to reward him for raising England's academic prestige with his massive scientific accomplishments. But Newton didn't treat anything lightly, if his name was going to be attached to it. He used his knowledge of chemistry and mathematics to literally hound counterfeiters to death. No joke! He actually had one major counterfeiter hanged, drawn, quartered, and publicly disemboweled! Messing with a nation's currency value and money supply was an attack against every person in the country, and Newton wouldn't have any of it. So here's to Newton. The Man, the Myth, the Legend... ...and the Executioner! If you like our puzzles and explanations, please visit our store and check out our problemsolving and logic puzzle books!

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February 2021
CategoriesAuthorsBrian and Melanie Fulton both earned doctoral degrees in mathematics at Virginia Tech. They formerly taught math at the university level, and now run a hobby farm while accuracychecking collegiate mathematics texts. They homeschool their four children, frequently employing the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog tutors. 