## Posts tagged ‘snow’

### Snowzilla Math for Back to School

I don’t know where you live, or how much snow you’ve gotten, or whether your kids have been out of school for multiple days. But here in Falls Church, VA, it’s Thursday, January 28 — five full days after snow stopped falling from Winter Storm Jonas — and our schools are **still** closed.

My sons lounge around in their pajamas all day, only getting off the couch to interrupt my work-from-home day and ask for macaroni and cheese. It’s starting to feel like we’ve had two eight-year-old brothers-in-law take up residence.

That’s why I’ve used data from Snowzilla to create a series of math activities. Today’s assignment is for them to complete the following and not bother me till they’re done. Feel free to use any of these with the youngsters in your life, whether they’re your biological offspring from whom you need a break at home or your charges in a classroom who might enjoy the challenge.

What do geometry teachers do in a blizzard?

Make snow angles.Schools have had a record number of snow days. At this rate, the only math kids are doing is how many glasses of wine their mom drinks before 2 p.m. – Jimmy Fallon

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**1.** Chris Christopher, a macroeconomist at IHS Global Insight, estimated that Jonas’s economic impact would be somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion.

**a.** Write both of those numbers in the form 2^{m} × 5^{n}.

**b.** If all values within the range are equally likely, what is the probability that the impact will be greater than $800 million?

**c.** If all values within the range are normally distributed, what is the probability that the impact will be greater than $800 million?

**Bonus.** Can you think of another occupation where it’s appropriate to state a prediction in which the upper end of the range is double the lower end?

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**2.** In the Washington, DC, area, the average weekly sales in a typical supermarket is about $10 per square foot. In the two days leading up to Jonas, traffic to brick-and-mortar stores was 7.5 percent higher than usual. The graph below, based on national averages, shows the percent of weekly shoppers at grocery stores each day of the week.

Putting all this information together, as well any other data that you can find online, draw a graph that approximates sales at a typical grocery store in Washington, DC, for the month of January.

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**3.** Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe estimated that snow removal costs the commonwealth $2 million to $3 million per hour. Estimate the total cost for Virginia to clean up Jonas’s mess.

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**4.** According to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the cost of snow removal in New York City is approximately $1.8 million per inch. Estimate the total cost for New York City to remove the snow from Jonas.

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**5.** The estimate above is an average for 2003 to 2014. The two graphs below show the snowfall totals and snow removal costs for those 12 years. Which years had the highest and lowest cost-per-inch? (Click each image to enlarge.)

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### Turn the Page

After eight fantastic years as the Online Projects Manager at NCTM, it’s time for my next chapter. On Monday, I become the Director of Mathematics for Discovery Education, leading a team that will build digital math techbooks for K‑12. I’m looking forward to building something great. As I mentioned during my interview, “I’m not coming to Discovery to create a textbook; I’m coming to create a *movement*.”

Leaving is such sweet sorrow. I’ll miss my friends and colleagues at NCTM, and I’m sad that I’ll no longer be creating resources for Illuminations. On the upside, my departure brought three stories worth sharing.

**A Day Off**

My last day at NCTM was February 28. That evening, I mentioned to my sons that I would not be going to work the next day. “Do you know why not?” I asked them. Alex suggested, “Because it’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday?” I love that! Celebrating the birth of Theodore Seuss Geisel certainly seems like a great reason for a federal holiday, but the truth is that I was just taking some time off between jobs.

**Lesson Learned**

The east coast was hit with a snowstorm during my time off, and both the NCTM and Discovery offices were closed. Had I been employed by either organization, I would have spent a day at home with pay. Instead, I spent an upaid eight hours designing the Vennebush Family Flag and playing Uno, Swish, and Qwirkle with the boys, while my gainfully employed wife dialed in to back-to-back-to-back conference calls. Moral: Check the forecast before quitting a job prematurely.

**A Parting Gift**

One of my colleagues at NCTM gave me a broken calculator. (And, no, this isn’t just a cheesy, elaborate set-up for a silly math problem.) The calculator used to be a normal, fully functioning, scientific calculator, but now it can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide without making an error. The good news is that the error is very predictable. The following video shows the results when using the calculator for four basic arithmetic problems.

The following (incorrect) results are shown in the video:

- 310 + 677 = 982
- 13 × 15 = 190
- 512 ÷ 64 = 3
- 75 – 10 = 60

And after the last problem, continual presses of the equal key should repeatedly subtract 10, but instead it shows consecutive results of 45, 30, 15, and 0.

Can you discern the pattern?

### Math Jokes, Yo! Let It Snow…

If you live near northern Virginia, then you’re stuck inside on a snowy day. If you’re bored and need something to do, you could attempt to solve the snowplow problem from R. P. Agnew’s *Differential Equations* (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1942).

One day it started snowing at a heavy and steady rate. A snowplow started out at noon, going 2 miles the first hour and 1 mile the second hour. What time did it start snowing?

If you can’t find the solution easily (or if you think that the problem is unsolvable), don’t fret. This problem has befuddled students for 71 years.

If you’re not a masochist, though, then you may just like some math jokes for a snowy day.

Math Teacher: We’re going to have an exam tomorrow, rain or shine.

Student: Great! It’s snowing.What math do Snowy Owls study?

Owlgebra.

Or perhaps you enjoy jokes with more elaborate set-ups…

An elder in a Native American tribe is asked, “Will it be cold this winter?” Not wanting to appear ignorant, he tells them, “Yes, it will be cold this winter. I suggest you start collecting firewood to be prepared.” The tribe disperses immediately to start collecting wood. Meanwhile, the elder heads to a phone and calls the National Weather Service. He asks the person who answers, “Will it be cold this winter?”

The agent at NWS responds, “Yes, our early data indicates that it will be a cold winter.”

The elder returns to the tribe and tells them, “Keep collecting wood! A cold winter is on the way!” Just to be sure, the next day he calls NWS, and again he asks, “Will it be cold this winter?”

The agent responds, “Our data now suggests that the winter will be very cold.”

The elder informs the tribe, “It will be a very cold winter! More wood!”

Wanting to be certain that he is sharing correct information, he calls NWS again the following day. “Are you absolutely certain that it will be very cold this winter?”

“Yes!” says the NWS agent. “The Native Americans are collecting firewood at an unprecedented rate!”

### The Twelve Days of Crisp Math – Day 3

It’s December 14, the **Third Day of Crisp Math**, and students all over the country are hoping for inclement weather.

Teacher: We will have a test tomorrow, rain or shine.

Student: Great! It’s snowing!

I can imagine the conversations that will happen following that test…

Student: Ma’am, I don’t think I deserved a zero on this test!

Teacher: I agree, but it’s the lowest score I’m allowed to give you.