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September 2019

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

 

Product Placement

Max had offered to stay after school to help with the fundraiser. 

The parents' association was buying new supplies for the three rooms in his grade, and they had divided the cost among all the students. Each student in the three rooms needed to bring in $15.63. Mr. McGovern's room had twenty-three students, Mrs. Chang's room had twenty-five, and Mrs. Bittle's room had twenty-four. 

The first room to bring in all of its money would get three days off from homework. The second room would get two days off, and the third room would get one day off. 

Mr. Howard, the father of Max's classmate Daniel, was in charge of announcing the winner. 

Each room had met its goal. Unfortunately, the envelopes were not marked with the names of the teachers, just the amounts in them. 

"I know the white one came in first, the yellow one was second, and the brown one was third," Mr. Howard said. 

Max looked at the envelopes. Mr. Howard's handwriting was so bad that Max couldn't make out the exact figures. The white envelope was some dollar amount and 75 cents. The yellow one was something and 49 cents, and the brown one was something and 12 cents. 

Daniel glanced at the envelopes too. 

"So that tells us what we need to know," he said. 

Max protested, "How could you figure that out in just a few seconds? I can't even make out the entire numbers!"