Math Challenge: An apple for the teacher

If you want to give a truly valuable gift to your child’s teacher, perhaps you should go with the cliched apple after all. Turns out there’s some truth to that old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away. A new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that eating apples may increase average life span and health. The researchers fed fruit flies a diet rich in apple polyphenols, a type of antioxidants. The fruit flies that were fed these antioxidants had a 10% longer life span on average. Moreover, they were able to climb, walk and move about better. Read on for the math challenge. 

The math challenge for the week: Assuming fruit flies have an average life span of 31 days, approximately how many days would fruit flies who were fed antioxidants live? The CDC reports that average life expectancy in the US is 77.9 years. If eating antioxidants could increase the human life span by 10%, how long would the average American adult live (in years)?*

You can practice more percent problems with your child in our 4th grade curriculum!

*Note: The study’s authors make no claim whatsoever about the impact of antioxidants on human life span. This is a purely hypothetical question! But eating an apple a day probably wouldn’t hurt…

[spoiler]Answer: 34 days for a fruit fly, 86 years for a human[/spoiler]

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Categories Fun, Math Challenge, Science
Author Qiao
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