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Investigations: The Twits

Authors:
INVESTIGATIONS
THE MATHEMATICAL
ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA
PRIME NUMBER: VOLUME 35, NUMBER 3. 2020
© The Mathematical Association of Victoria
Read The Twits by Roald Dahl, and invite your students to engage with these mathematical problems (Year 4 and above).
THE TWITS
James Russo, Monash University and Toby Russo, Spensley Street Primary School
MRS TWIT AND THE
BALLOONS
(PROPORTIONAL REASONING,
PAGES 24-31)
How did students in your class approach the above investigation? Share your class’ experience with the Prime Number editorial
team (primenumber@mav.vic.edu.au), for the opportunity to have it published in Prime Number as a resource to share with other
teachers and students. If possible, try and include photographs of work samples, as well as students engaging in the task.
FUNNY WALKING STICK
(LENGTH MEASUREMENT AND
MULTIPLICATION, PAGES 18-23)
Mr Twit's ‘squiggly spaghetti’ had
regular spaghetti mixed with worms. His
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big, long worms. When Mr Twit twirled
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What is the chance Mr Twit ate a worm
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EXTENSION
If there were two strands of ‘spaghetti’
on his next forkful, what are the chances
they were both worms? When Mr Twit
made the horrible discovery that he was
actually eating worms, he had eaten
three-quarters of his bowl. How many
worms could there have been left in his
bowl? In your opinion, what is the most
likely number of worms left in his bowl?
Explain why you think this.
WORMY SPAGHETTI
(PROBABILITY, PAGES 9-17)
Every night Mr Twit added a small piece
of wood, no thicker than a penny, to the
bottom of Mrs Twit’s walking stick. If a
penny is about 2mm thick, how long do
you think it took for Mrs Twit’s walking
stick to go from waist height to past her
shoulder?
EXTENSION
Mr Twit did exactly the same thing to the
legs of Mrs Twit’s stool, as he did to her
walking stick. If Mr Twit used 10c coins
instead of pennies, how much might his
prank have cost him? If he was willing to
spend $300 on his prank, how tall could
he have made the walking stick?
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Twit's arms and legs when he had his
wicked idea to cut through the strings
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skyward. However, once Mrs Twit had
bitten through 20 balloons, she stopped
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balloons do you think it would take to
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you think it would take to lift you off the
ground? Explain your thinking.
EXTENSION
Imagine all the teachers in your school
were tied up outside. What is the
minimum number of balloons you
estimate you and your classmates might
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So it turns out that Mr Twit was right-
The Shrinks are a real disease (at least
in the story). Once you've caught the
dreaded Shrinks, it works very quickly.
For every hour that passes, your height
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beginning of the story, whereas Mr Twit
is 180cm. How long will it take for Mrs
Twit to be shorter than you? What about
Mr Twit? How long will it take them to
be shorter than a newborn baby? Shorter
than a mouse? Shorter than an ant? So
short, you could no longer see them with
the naked eye?
DREADED SHRINKS
(NUMBER PATTERNS AND
DECIMALS, LAST CHAPTER)
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