Every so often, I’ll informally teach a class of gifted elementary-school students. I greatly enjoy interacting with them, and I especially enjoy the questions they pose. Often these children pose questions that no one else will think about, and answering these questions requires a surprising depth of mathematical knowledge.
Here’s a question I once received after a really big hailstorm:
How big would a 1000-pound hailstone be?
My head hurts thinking about hail that large. After about a minute of thinking, without using a calculator or even a pencil, I gave my answer: about a yard across.
I’ll reveal how I got this answer — which turns out to be a lot close than I had any right to expect — in tomorrow’s post. In the meantime, I’ll leave a thought bubble if you’d like to think about it on your own without using a calculator.