Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Word Problems

  1. Alexander has 18 chocolate bars. Alexander gives his friend, Dmitri, 2 chocolate bars. How many chocolate bars does Alexander have? (Hint: “Less” is not an acceptable answer).


For this next word problem, some of the information is extraneous. You will have to decide what is necessary to ignore in order to solve the word problem.

  1. Alexander rides his bike on his paper route. Along the way he sometimes wonders about life in these United States and reflects upon the wantonness of nature, of th’earth, the way Kerouac’s man stands bare-faced before the unknown as it rushes on outside the metaphorical railroad car of growing up. He passes the house of a certain Ms. Snippet. She’s always greeted him with a knowing smile and a gentle wave of her uptilted white hand beneath a motheaten shawl, but not today. Alexander bikes on, but there it is, gnawing at the base of his skull: a certain unfathomable grief, a sizzling pressure telling him with the utmost of certainty that Ms. Snippet is not out today, and that something is terribly wrong. If it takes Alexander 10 minutes to bike a block, and his route covers four blocks, how long with Alexander’s paper route take?

2. Dmitri goes down a waterslide. If the waterslide is 27 feet long and 3 feet wide, coated in a 3″ film (or “slurry”) of water and trampled grass shards, and Dmitri is traveling downwards at an angle of 43 degrees, how many deer ticks does Dmitri’s livid mother rip loose later than evening?


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