Alexandria Jones pulled the last sheet of chocolate chip cookies from the oven and inhaled deeply. Mmm! Perfect. And just in time — Mom was calling her to the car. She slid the cookies into a plastic bowl but left the lid off so the steam could escape. The Jones family was going to meet Uncle Will and Alex’s cousin Sam for a tail-gate picnic before the big football game.
Looking around the room, Alex saw kids and parents moving from one table to another. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the Homeschool Math Carnival. She had six junior-high and high school students at her table, waiting while she shuffled her deck of cards.
“Okay,” she said. “These are Math Cards. I took out the face cards, so we just have numbers.”
July 27th is Alex’s birthday. She shares it with Johann Bernoulli, an irascible mathematician from the late 17th century. This coincidence intrigued her enough that she wrote a research paper on Johann and his mathematical brother, titled “Jeering Jacob and Jealous Johann.”
Of course, to make the alliteration work, she had to mispronounce Johann’s name — but she figured he kinda deserved that. Read the historical tidbits below to find out why one writer said the Bernoulli brothers were “the kind of people who give arrogance a bad name.”*
Remember the Math Adventurer’s Rule: Figure it out for yourself! Whenever I give a problem in an Alexandria Jones story, I will try to post the answer soon afterward. But don’t peek! If I tell you the answer, you miss out on the fun of solving the puzzle. So if you haven’t worked these problems yet, go back to the original posts. If you’re stuck, read the hints. Then go back and try again. Figure them out for yourself — and then check the answers just to prove that you got them right.
This post offers hints and answers to puzzles from these blog posts: