May Mystery of the Month


May 2017
Mystery #50: Math at Play

Selected from:
One Minute Mysteries:
65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math!



Batter Up


Mr. Andropolous sent the boys' P.E. class to the baseball field, but it didn't seem like they were going to play a game. There were no gloves--only a bag of balls, a couple of bats, several tape measures, and a batting tee near home plate. Chalk lines had been drawn in arcs across the outfield, starting just beyond the infield.

"Those lines are for the school fair tomorrow," the teacher said. "There's going to be a homerun-hitting contest, only with batting tees. People will get a ticket for a prize if they hit it past a certain line.The woman running the game wants to give a ticket to half the people who try."

"So you're going to use us to decide which line they have to hit it past?" Michael asked.

"That's right," said Mr. A. "I think this group is about average. Line up, hit one ball each and go to the back of the line. When all the balls have been hit, we'll measure how far each one went, using those lines and the tape measures. We'll add the distances, divide by the number of balls, and that will tell us how far the average ball went. The closest line to that will be the target line for the fair."

"I hate to make a bad joke, but I can think of a more 'fair' way to do this," Michael said.

"Let's hear it," Mr. Andropolous said.

Can you figure out the answer?

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