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Dear Mitch,

I know this is kind of short notice, but I was wondering if you could come up with some very funny and very easy (or medium-easy) math questions I could give my class on our last day before the Christmas break. In other words, TOMORROW, Friday, December 21st.

By the way, the class is a mixed-grouping of 2nd and 3rd graders, which makes humor hard to predict. (It can be surprising to see what they find funny and equally surprising to discover what they do not.)

If you can do this before tomorrow morning, my family and I will love your site forever! (And if you can't, we'll still love your site forever!) My daughter is a sixth grader and she has your site bookmarked in her computer's "favorites".

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday, and continued success in the New Year!

Marjorie Brighton

Cincinnati, Ohio


Dear Ms. Brighton,



Of course, my pleasure, I always enjoy a good challenge.

Here's a few you might try:

  1. If Santa's belly is round, would it be easier for him to slide down a round chimney than slide down a square one?

If you think the answer is yes, explain why you think so.


If you think the answer is no, can you think of what else might be

important for Santa to know about the chimney besides its shape?

2. PROBLEM SOLVING for Santa: Surely he must find some chimneys too

tight to fit through. What might he do to get his job done anyway?


HINT #1: There are many houses that do not have chimneys or

fireplaces at all, so try to imagine what Santa might do

when he gets to one of those houses.

HINT #2: Santa may be magical but I don't know if he can make his

stomach square!

3. If someone was tired and not paying enough attention when setting up his Christmas tree, and he put it in the stand upside down, what might be some advantages (good things) about it?

(I'll give you one sort-of good thing about it, just to start you thinking: It

would be easier to hang a star at the top because the top is now at

the bottom!)


Here's a hint for another good thing about the upside-down tree:

There would be more _ _ _ _ under the _ _ _ _ for

more _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s!


4. Some people say the Spirit of Christmas should last for a whole year (until the next Christmas), and that may be true for the loving spirit, but everyone knows that the actual holiday really only lasts for one day. BUT...

A lot of people don't know how many hours Christmas lasts. Do you?

A lot of people don't know how many minutes Christmas lasts. Do you?

A lot of people don't know how many seconds Christmas lasts. Do you?

And how about this: Can you figure out how many half-hours Christmas lasts?


Hope this helps!



-- Mitch