Math Story:  An Unfortunate Kid

By Annie Ma (Graph #5)

Sheridan had been waiting for this day for the past 364 days. Halloween. AND IT WAS FINALLY HERE! He was bursting with excitement the entire day, and thought the teachers wouldn't give any homework. None of them did--except for Mrs. Rice, but Sheridan didn't mind because he loved math. "I want you all to make a graph comparing how much candy you got vs. how much time you spent trick-or-treating," she said, handing out the paper. A devout math whiz, Sheridan didn't lose his vibe as he waited for Jiho to pass down the paper.  The title of the assignment was Graph 5.

That afternoon, when Mr. Jones, Sheridan's dad, got home from work, he had a surprise for his sons. He had bought an extra sack and a big 25-pack of Snickers bars for each of them! At 6 pm that evening, Sheridan, Sonio (his brother), and their dad set off, with two sacks already filled with 25 chocolate bars each (still in the giant plastic wrap/bag). This explains why the graph does not start at zero pieces of candy in the bag--it starts at 25. The trio gained candy at each house they went to, but as time passed by, the amount of candy they got at each house decreased until they only got 1-2 candy pieces at each house (since people before them took a lot of candy).  This is why the graph "flattens" as the time nears 30 minutes.  (The trio has been out for nearly 30 minutes, and Sheridan has about 60 pieces of candy, a 35 candy gain)

Undeterred by the lower rate of candy on this street, they still kept walking, bags of candy growing heavier with each house.  For 15 minutes, they walked along an empty road, and gained no candy.  However, there was a hole in Sheridan's pillowcase, and candy started falling out at an unsteady rate. (This explains the decrease in candy during that time -- from 30-45 minutes) He finally realized this 15 minutes after his candy had started to tumble out (at 45 minutes into the candy collecting). He heard a "whoosh" and a screech as the bag of Snickers scratched against the nylon sack that carried it.  He had lost about 35 pieces of candy, and was left with the 25 Snickers he started with.   It would be too hard to trace his steps all the way back, so Sheridan took off his wizard's hat, stuck it in the gaping hole (which would prevent anymore candy from falling out) and continued onward.  

Mr. Jones and his sons now knew to pace themselves (because they were getting tired, but wanted to keep trick-or-treating!), and collected (gained) candy at a steady rate.  Since lines showing constant rates are straight, the line part from 45 minutes to 60 minutes is straight. After an hour (15 minutes after the solution to Sheridan's leaking bag) of candy-hunting, the trio decided that they couldn't carry anymore and walked back home.  Fortunately, Sheridan's plan worked and no more of his candy fell out, and he ended up with about 75 pieces in his bag (a 50 candy gain from 25 pieces) at the end of the 60 minutes.


1. The "fit" at the side of the screen has nothing to do with this actual story or graph, it's just from the screenshot

2. Sheridan's neighbors put bowls candy close to the sidewalk so that they wouldn't have to endure the constant doorbell-ringing from kids.  Also, people in this neighborhood are very agile and can grab candy and move on almost instantly.

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