Word Problem Wednesday: Birthday Bonanza

By Mathnasium | December 2, 2020

Cake, decorations, family, and friends — who doesn’t love a good birthday celebration? Every 365 days, each one of us gets the opportunity to celebrate another trip around the sun. And whether we’re counting candles or figuring out how long it will take us to put up streamers and balloons, there are tons of opportunities to use math. 

This week’s word problems help kids see that math can be part of their birthday preparations. Look below and choose the one that’s the right skill level for your child. Have them give it a try. And when they feel they’ve found the answer, check their solution against ours on the next page.


Lower Elementary:
Question: Margie and Carrie are twins. Margie was born on December 17 at 11:45 PM, and Carrie was born on December 18 at 12:07 AM. How much older is Margie than Carrie?

Upper Elementary:
Question: Barb’s birthday cake has 1 more candle than the number of years she has been alive. If 1/2 of the candles are blue, 1/3 of the candles are green, and the remaining 4 candles are yellow, then how old is Barb?

Middle School:
Question: Jenny is making a number of treat bags for her birthday party guests. She buys a bag of 50 lollipops, 8 of which are blue raspberry-flavored. Before distributing the lollipops amongst the treat bags, Jenny randomly picks 3 lollipops to keep for herself. Whatever she picks, she keeps. What is the probability that all 3 lollipops Jenny picks are blue raspberry-flavored? Round your answer to the nearest hundredth of a percent.

Algebra and Up:
Question: Nick, Rose, and Leif are decorating for their friend Angie’s surprise party. Nick can put up decorations in 1.5 hours, Rose can put up decorations in 2 hours, and Leif can put up decorations in 3.5 hours. How long will it take them to put up decorations if they all work together? Round your answer to the nearest minute.