Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Practical math

A word problem:

To make your own baking powder, you need two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda. If you need 5 tablespoons of baking powder, how many teaspoons each of cream of tartar and baking soda do you need?

Furthermore, if you drove 9 miles roundtrip to the grocery store to buy a $1.19 can of baking powder in a car that gets 22 miles to the gallon and gas costs $2.50 a gallon, how much money have you saved by solving the first word problem?

See, these are the kind of math problems that are useful. With the price of gas being what it is (and I believe this current drop in prices is going to last until about five minutes after the polls close on Election Day), I try to figure out the second half of the above word problem on a daily basis.

Oh, here's the answer ...

  • 5 teaspoons of baking soda to 10 teaspoons of cream of tartar

  • Money saved: $2.29 (cost of the gas was 1.02, baking powder $1.19 plus .08 tax.)

Of course, my husband spend that money on a cup of Starbucks coffee and an Almond Joy the very same day!

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