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November 2019

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

 

Raking their Brains

“Hannah!... Would you please come out here already? Your sister, father, and I have been waiting for you for almost 10 minutes!”

“Coming, Mom!” I hate the middle of November, when all the leaves have fallen and we have to rake them, Hannah thought to herself.

After half an hour of raking leaves, Hannah had blisters all over her hands, but they were almost done. Only one more pile was left. The trouble was that the pile was in the middle of two rows of cars and vans, and they had to move it out to where the leaf collecting truck could get it.

“Hey, Juliet,” Hannah called to her sister. “I’ll race you, and whoever can rake their half of the pile to the other side of the cars first wins.”

“Okay, but the loser has to clean up the rakes!”

They divided the pile into equal halves. Juliet looked at the two rows of vehicles on either side of her. The left row had three vans, parked 4 feet apart from each other. The right had four cars parked the same distance apart.

“Dad, how long is a car and a van?” Juliet asked.

“A car is about 15 feet, a van about 20,” he said.

“We should each take one row to rake around,” Hannah said.

“I’ll take the one on the left,” Juliet said.

“Okay.”

“On your mark, get set… GO!” Juliet screamed.

After a few minutes of speed raking Juliet proudly remarked that she was done.

“You cheater!” Hannah said.

“I did not cheat, Hannah. Look, I’ll explain…”