Elementary Problem of the Week

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Problem - last of the 1996-1997 school year.

Welcome to the Elementary Problem of the Week. Each week an elementary level problem will be posted. Student submissions will be answered by "Visiting Math Mentors," including other elementary classes, middle and high school classes, college students, student teachers and other mathematics enthusiasts. A summary of solutions and their authors will be posted each week.

This week's mentor is Steve Earth of Seattle, Washington.

Elementary Problem of the Week: May 12-16, 1997

The Case of the Evaporating Tomatoes

A farmer drives 35 miles to bring 300 pounds of tomatoes to market. Unbeknownst to the farmer, two months ago this village passed a ban on the purchase of tomatoes, and so her entire supply just sits out all day in the sun without anybody buying a single one. During this rather hot day, some of the water in the tomatoes evaporates, so that by the time she packs up her wares to go home, the water has dropped from comprising 99 percent of the total tomato down to constituting 98 percent of the tomato. How much does her supply weigh now? Does the answer surprise you (and if so, why)?

The project is coordinated by Ruth Carver, Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA. Please mail your answers along with as detailed a description of your method of solution as possible to ruth@mathforum.org.

Solutions must include student's name, grade, teacher's name, e-mail address, school and location, along with your answer. You may work alone or with a team of students.

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