Landscaping Trees

Nov 25, 2000

RAY: A landscaper returns from work and is sitting at the kitchen table with his kids. The kids ask, "Did you work hard today, Daddy?"

Dad says, "I did. I planted five rows of four trees each." His little third-grader, wanting to show off her newfound skills with the multiplication tables, says, "You planted 20 trees, Daddy!"

He says, "No, I'm sorry, you little twerp. That's wrong. I planted 10 trees." She responds, "That's impossible!"

The dad responds, "No, it isn't, and here's a hint: If you look at one of the math or history test papers that your teacher has returned to you recently, you're going to find the answer."

The little girl sits there and thinks for a minute, and then she says, "I've got it!"

What did she find on her paper that gave her the answer?


RAY: What the little girl finds on her paper is something that you often find on graded papers from your third-grade teacher. At the top of the page is a star.

TOM: I never got one.

RAY: Oh. That's why you didn't get the answer to this either, you dumbo. And if you draw a five-pointed star, just like your third-grade teacher put on your papers, and you put a tree at every intersection point and a tree at every vertex...

TOM: You end up with four.

RAY: You end up with 10 trees, right?

TOM: Four, four, four.

RAY: Five rows of four trees each.

TOM: Whew!

RAY: Pretty good, hunh?

TOM: That is good!

RAY : Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yes, we do. Just a minute.

RAY: We always have a winner.

TOM: It looks like Catherine LaFeriere from Highland, Maryland.

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