Math Imitates Life – A Word Problem Post // #1

As a gift to my friends in the field of education, I offer my annual* back-to-school word problem.  Feel free to use it in your classroom, teacher’s lounge, local Math Olympics, or Labor Day gathering.

A man walks outside for 17.6 seconds and is aggressively attacked by a hellish host of mosquitoes, mostly about the feet and ankles.  Assuming that the dimensions of the man’s yard are 40′ x 65′, and the density of mosquitoes is 7 billion per-square-inch, how much calamine lotion will the man have to soak in in order to sleep that night? Please give your answer in 4oz bottles AND metric tons.

(Hint: It’s more than has ever existed).

Bonus question: How many salad forks is it socially acceptable for the man described in the above problem to scratch his ankles with? (Show your work.)

*Note: “Annual” here to be read, “Possibly next year, possibly sooner, possibly never again. Depends on many, many important and currently unknown factors.” 


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