What goes into making award-winning science fair projects? Why MATH, of course! Math is a key component of all science fair projects. Additionally, science is always a fun way to use some of the key math concepts you’re learning in school to solve real world math problems.

In this week’s word problem challenge Natalie is collecting water samples for one of her science fair projects. Can you use your elementary math skills to help Natalie analyze the data for her project? **Challenge:** Natalie collects water samples from 6 random puddles around her neighborhood and counts the number of mosquito larvae in each. She finds 12, 22, 0, 13, 8, and 13 larvae in the samples. What is the average number of larvae per water sample that Natalie collected?

**Solution:** To find the average, we add up all the numbers of larvae and then divide by the number of samples. Natalie collected a total of 12 + 22 + 0 + 13 + 8 + 13 = 68 mosquito larvae in her samples. So, the average number of mosquito larvae in a sample is 68 ÷ 6 = 11½.

Photo By: Amy Newcomb