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Transcript Edit

Text reads: The Mysteries of Life with Tim and Moby

Tim is standing by his backyard fence with several cans of paint. He yells toward his house after the door closes.

TIM: Aw. But the Kung-Fu Cowboys marathon is on in less than an hour!

Tim walks partway along the fence, accidentally kicking over a can of paint. He stops to survey the long fence.

TIM: Ugh. Guess I'd better get started.

He paints for a while, humming, then sits down to take a break. Moby approaches him with a letter in hand.

MOBY: Beep.

TIM: I don't have time for a letter if I'm going to be done painting this fence by four o'clock.

Moby shrugs.

MOBY: Beep?

TIM: I am painting.

Tim reads from a typed, paint-stained letter.

TIM: Dear Tim and Moby, How do I do word problems? Thanks, Dorothy. Hey, I could use a word problem to figure out how long it'll take me to paint this fence. A word problem asks a math question without using mathematical notation.

Mathematical operation symbols appear.

TIM: Which sounds like it should be simple, but sometimes people have trouble figuring out what a word problem is actually asking.

The text of a word problem appears. Tim reads it.

TIM: Tim paints one board of a fence every two minutes, but Moby can paint fourteen boards every two minutes. If there are one-hundred-fifty boards total, how many hours will it take Tim to paint the fence? When you read a word problem, you should start by reading it closely to figure out what information they're giving you, and what they're asking you. And then you usually have to figure out an equation that uses the known values to find the unknown value.

The text of the word problem reappears.

TIM: So, let's see. The question is, how long will it take me to paint the fence? So I know that the answer will be in units of time, like hours. I'm given two important pieces of information. How long it takes me to paint each board.

The words "two minutes" are underlined.

TIM: And how many boards there are total.

The words "one-hundred-fifty boards" are underlined.

TIM: How long it takes me to paint each board is the rate. A rate is basically just a speed. It's how much time it takes to do something.

MOBY: Beep.

TIM: Yeah. Sometimes word problems give you extra information. Like, I don't need to know how fast you paint. The question is only asking how long it'll take me to paint the fence.

He looks toward Moby.

TIM: Unless you want to help?

Moby shakes his head.

MOBY: Beep.

TIM: Hmmm. Well, okay. I know that I can paint at a rate of two minutes per board. That line there means "per," which is kind of the same as "divided by." So I've got two minutes per board, and the fence has one-hundred-fifty boards. Basically, I'm doing two minutes of painting one-hundred-fifty times. So I've got to multiply two times one-hundred-fifty to get three hundred minutes to finish up this painting.

An image shows the fence that Tim is supposed to paint. Tim’s face and a paintbrush are shown, as well as the numbers that are needed to solve the problem as Tim describes.

MOBY: Beep.

TIM: To figure out hours, you just divide the minutes by sixty, because, you know, there are sixty minutes in an hour. That makes five hours.

The three hundred minutes are divided by sixty minutes as Tim describes.

TIM: Ah, what if, let's just say you and I both worked at the same time.

The text of a second word problem appears. Tim reads the problem.

TIM: Tim paints one board of a fence every two minutes, but Moby can paint fourteen boards every two minutes. If there are one-hundred-fifty boards total, how many hours will it take them to paint the fence, working together? Okay, so together we can paint fifteen boards every two minutes. Putting it another way, both of us can paint at a rate of two minutes per every fifteen boards. With one-hundred-fifty boards, that means three hundred divided by fifteen is twenty. That's only twenty minutes to paint the entire fence.

Tim’s face, Moby’s face, and two paintbrushes are shown along with the numbers that are needed to solve the problem as Tim describes.

TIM: Hey look, it'll work out perfectly. The Kung-Fu Cowboys marathon is on in twenty minutes.

Moby shakes his head.

MOBY: Beep.

Moby walks off.

TIM: But!

Moby goes into the living room and sits in front of the television. Kung-Fu Cowboys is on. Tim looks through the window from out in the yard.

TIM: Hey! You'd better be recording that!