Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More from the Book of Existential Mathematics

Here is another question from the interesting fifth grade math book that I have highlighted in previous posts here and here.


In case you can’t read it, it says, “Number Sense: How do you know that 5 1/4 is less than 5 4/10?" This question has puzzled philosophers through the ages. I am not sure that a fifth grader can explain it, nor do I think he should have to.

Perhaps this concept can be extended to other areas. Here are some potential candidates:

1. Why does air exist?
2. Why is a monkey called a monkey?
3. Why are there nine innings in a baseball game?
4. Why is water made of hydrogen and oxygen?
5. Why are there 435 members in the House of Representatives?
6. Why are daffodils yellow?
7. How do you know that this isn’t all a dream?

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