Question

Dear Mitch,

How many seconds are there in a day?

How many seconds are there in a week?

How many seconds are there in a year?

And how many are there in a decade?

Then can you just tell me how many seconds there are in a century? (Because that's the one we have to get up to for homework for our first week of school in Florida.)

Thanks a lot,

Adam

Answer

Dear Adam,

It wouldn't be good for you if I do your homework for you, but I can help get you started by showing you the way to do it yourself. Here goes:

First, there are 60 seconds in a minute, and there are 60 minutes in an hour. So each hour has 60 groups with 60 seconds in each group, which means you multiply 60 x 60. That comes out to 3,600 seconds.

Next, there are 24 hours in a day (which, believe it or not, is actually a* rounding* of the real amount, which happens to be closer to 23 hours and 56 minutes, but I would guess that unless your teacher said otherwise, he or she would like to see you solve the problem with the standard numbers we use to measure days and weeks and all that, even if these numbers are not as accurate as a scientist might need for his or her work).

So, you take the number of seconds in an hour and multiply it by 24 to get the number of seconds in a day.

Next, since there are seven days in a week, you take the amount of seconds you figured out for a day and multiply it by 7.

Next, since there are 365 days in most years, you take the number of seconds you figured out for each day and multiply that number by 365.

Next, since a decade has ten years in it, you multiply the amount you figured out for one year and multiply it by 10.

Next, since a century is 100 years, it can be broken down into ten groups of ten.

And since we just said that ten years equals one decade, a century is equal to ten decades...

So, you take the amount of seconds you figured out are in a decade and you multiply that number by ten.

Hint: Don't forget the trick for multiplying a number by 10. (All you have to do is attach a zero to the end of the number you want to multiply by 10, and you are done -- because *that* is your answer!)

Hope this helps,

Mitch