Homework Time Math Puzzle

google, the internet's largest search engine, has added more functionality to its already popular offerings. the website has given its search service the ability to perform mathematical calculations–simply typing a formula into the search box will return the answer. additionally, the formula can be formatted in several different ways, such as 35*10, thirty five * ten, or even thrity five times ten.

but the calculator goes beyond simple multiplication and subtraction. within its functionality is the ability to perform conversions, such as meters to a mile or teaspoons in a cup. finally, as suggested by google's calculator description, the search engine “can evaluate mathematical expressions involving basic arithmetic (5+2*2 or 2^20), more complicated math (sine(30 degrees) or e^(i pi)+1).”

read more on this topic at washingtonpost.com.

christopher's opinion
too bad google can't also make a “way-back machine” so i can retake some of my early algebra classes. man, do kids nowadays have it easy! i remember being excited when solar calculators came onto the market.

google just keeps adding to its functionality, which is why it remains the number one search engine. as others such as yahoo! and askjeeves try to keep pace, google continues to raise the bar. i still use both yahoo! and google, but more and more i rely on the latter.

sure, the calculator is a little gimmicky. how many times does a person really need to know anything to do with math, gigawatts, miles per hour, and newtons? but it will be a nice little resource the next time i get confused trying to remember how many fluid ounces in a cup or pecks in bushel.

is it the greatest thing ever? not even close, but it makes google that much stronger.

user comments 108 comment(s)

google*mart(9:32am est tue aug 19 2003)
next…google allows you to search wal*mart with your cell phone to find out exactly where the lightbulbs are. by m@
you'd be surprised christopher!(9:41am est tue aug 19 2003)
“how many times does a person really need to know anything to do with math, gigawatts, miles per hour, and newtons?”

there are lots of people who have to deal with this daily. i am one of them. i use google all the time for research, so why not use it for calculating complex formulas for something such as fiber optics! by scientist

really?(9:42am est tue aug 19 2003)

“or even thrity five times ten.”

so it fixes the typo, then gives you the correct result? astounding. by simon

you know,(9:45am est tue aug 19 2003)
this sounds great, but as a software developer dealing with vector graphics, when i need to find out about some algebra formulae, or other 3d equations, the internet is almost always the last place i look.

it's not that you can't find answers to your math problems online, it is just that you have to wade through countless web sites dedicated to teaching you how to solve the problems, rather then solutions to those problems.

searching for a solution to an algebra problem, i had to skip 7 full screens of google results to find a site that actually had the formula i was looking for, the previous seven pages of results were from high schools and universities that offered test and quiz questions (without answers by the way), and student pages about the proof of the formula, not on how to solve it.

i can understand that students need to learn how to solve these problems, not just handed the solution, but i already paid my dues and went to school. so, when i want answers, i want anwsers, period.

hopefully, more sites like this will be dedicated to answering math problems, rather then attempting to teach you.

i allready lernd all i want, and i ain't interested in lernin' any more. i gets paid for providing solushuns, not lernin'. by topher

not science(9:48am est tue aug 19 2003)
i think this is a great idea, except what good does it do me to know that one hundred million times one hundred million = 1.0 � 10^16 ??

i want the full spelled out number! so i have this strange fascination with numbers, so what? by 10011010

google doing math problems(9:59am est tue aug 19 2003)
i think it's a good idea. i can't believe the features that google has they come out with different features all the time. by firefly
i have been (10:00am est tue aug 19 2003)
trying to teach my 9 year old granddaughter to do simple math in her head. it seems to me that folks are intent on 'dumbing down' everything as much as possible. if your power is down, ( what? no electricity??) and you cannot do math in your head, or with pencil and paper, ( i'll confess, i can not do quadratics in my head.(( i guess i'm gettin old too, topher))maybe you should apply for a job at the saw mill. by darwin
topher(10:05am est tue aug 19 2003)
you sound like a good guy, but we both read the latest tech news. if we are not prepared to learn whatever new gizmo which is going to be headlined in next monday's “geek.com” maybe we both can get a job at ” thet ol' (patoie) sawr mill. saw if you are from the northeast, sawr, if you are from the north west. :) by darwin
real math info(10:23am est tue aug 19 2003)
mathworld.com by math man
yuhoo(10:35am est tue aug 19 2003)
precise inside my search engine, it continues the fact that it increases the function to remain to peel why, google? yahoo which it sees on top outside, it will seem the width of maintenance of reading askjeeves' large foot made walk of google, an area of method it will reach and holds. i however the afterwords of yahoo hemm and the positive one but, depends google two, were in top significant, it employed.
by dominiqu3
simon is a smart arse!!(10:42am est tue aug 19 2003)
you made me laugh though :)) by giggle
duh(12:23pm est tue aug 19 2003)
light bulbs are on isle 3. by yup
calculators(12:35pm est tue aug 19 2003)
calculators and formula 'cheat sheets' don't dumb you down they rid you of the trivial tasks and allow you to focus on larger problems. who cares if you have to look something up. as long as you know what you're looking for and more importantly how to apply it, all is golden.

in the real world, the one that depends on electricity, there are plenty of calculators. they make us smarter.

this entire argument that we would be lost/ignorant/helpless without technology is so old. without technology there is no way we could feed 6 billion people. without calculators we won't be able to feed 10 billion. get used to it. there's no going back. by lb1

ppl are getting stupider(1:12pm est tue aug 19 2003)
ppl are just gettin stupider by the day

we don't need tools for brats we need better teachers by m0r0m0n

dumbing down?(1:20pm est tue aug 19 2003)
calculators don't dumb us down, hell i was taking college math classes that required state of the art $200 dollar calculators just to take the class. they help speed up our knowledge and apply the steps for us, imagine you're on a space flight, re-entering the atmosphere and a problem arises.

“sir, we're losing our vector due to wind velocity, let me punch it in to the computer and have it calculate a course correction!”.

“well, sorry bob, the computers calculation functions were removed due to the fact it dumbs us up, give me a couple hours and i'll figure out the correction on paper!” by crevin

dumb versus unreasonable(2:03pm est tue aug 19 2003)
the problem with *only* doing math on a calculator or computer is that you don't get a “feel” for numbers.

when the kids today accidently punch in 100 * 2, instead of 1.00 * 2, they don't even notice that 200 is an *unreasonable* answer for two times one. that's the real problem. by dung

blind reliance(2:08pm est tue aug 19 2003)
i think what darwin was referring to was blind reliance on technology. yes, your $200 calculator can save you a lot of time by performing simple steps for you, but if you don't understand the underlying concept, you haven't learned how to do the calculation. you've simply learned to punch numbers into a formula.

i knew way too many people in college who treated math as a black box (numbers in – answer out), and it ended up biting them in the a$$ come test time. my freshman chem professor taught us to do logs in our heads so that we would have an idea if the number our calculator gave us was in the ballpark.

if you were one of those people who understood the concept and used the technology to further that knowledge, then good for you. you have mastered a very powerful tool. by laserman

calculator vs computer???(2:56pm est tue aug 19 2003)
it doesn't take google's calculator to dumb down america. it's already being done quite well by our television programing and other aspects of our society. in addition, it's often not the teachers, but rather the apathetic lazy attitude of people that believe they deserve everything while doing the least possible amount of work/effort. pardon the digression.

my thoughts on google is that windows operating systems (and other systems)already have a calculator program that does complex math. so if someone wants to take the extra time to go to google and type out equations in long format, that's their perogative. as for something that does mathamatical conversions, i found a simple free non-invasive program called “convert” that is much easier to use than google will ever be. such programs are easily found at

in the end, those people who do complex math are more prone to already have a scientific calculator to assist them. scientific calculators are more conveinent and are also cheaper than the monthly internet cost to use google for math. if you don't know how to use a calculator, you ought to have spent more time listening to the teachers while you were in school.

life doesn't need to be further compartmentalized. by meson

a little too late(3:01pm est tue aug 19 2003)
why couldn't this be done while i was taking all of those physics classes? by esqin
no calculator, no problem(3:07pm est tue aug 19 2003)
i seemed to make it through college fine without a $200 calculator and i got a degree in math. the classes that required the graphing calculators were the 1000 level classes for business and non-technical majors. i did depend on math world at wolfram research (mentioned by math man).
i would have to say that i am impressed with the calculator from google, not because of its calculation ability, but because it is “smart.” i thought that i could give it a problem it couldn't solve. i asked it for “100 calories in calories” and it recognized the difference in capitalization giving me the answer “100 calories = 0.1 kilocalorie.” by another math man
no boobs, no problem(3:30pm est tue aug 19 2003)
boobs are just gettin larger by the day by hugh jeboobs
re: hugh(3:33pm est tue aug 19 2003)
are you suggesting that those that use calculators are boobs? or that those that don't are boobs?
by tina tits
when(3:53pm est tue aug 19 2003)
i was in college back in 1964, a physics prof told me that my not knowing how to use a slide rule should get me removed from his class. i sat down and learned how to use one. my objection is not that someone uses a tool to save time, but mis-using the tool because one is too lazy to try to learn how. lets face it, i cannot do matching orbital velocity vectors in my head, *or* on paper. but, i save a few bucks a year because i can do sales tax in my head, close to a couple of pennies. the kid who is punching items on the registers touch pad has no idea if the total is right or not. and most of them don't care! by darwin
re: darwin(5:14pm est tue aug 19 2003)
yip-de-doo darwin. y'always did think you were so damn smart…bastard. by newton
so how(6:34pm est tue aug 19 2003)
do i enter an inverse tan into google? oh, and calculators are more efficient. sure i can calculate the sin(33.2) on paper but why would i want to when i have a calc? by duh
adnumbers(11:58pm est tue aug 19 2003)
and now in addition to the popular “adwords” program where advertisers buy ads associated with keywords, this opens up an infinite supply of “adnumbers” to be sponsored. by einstein
great(1:00am est wed aug 20 2003)
now, not only can we steal music, we can cheat on our math homework by great
m0r0m0n(1:17am est wed aug 20 2003)
as i teacher, i'm offended by your comment. the greatest teacher in the world can't teach children who aren't willing to learn. and children who aren't willing to learn get that way by having parents who aren't willing to reinforce the importance of having a good education. these are the same parents who use video games, the computer, and tv as a babysitter.

look at how little teachers are paid, and you'll understand the value us society places on formal education. those who go into teaching often do so because they're good at it, dedicated to helping, and don't mind living from paycheck to paycheck.

if you want better teachers, learn to be more hands-on parents and don't gripe when your community increases taxes to give teachers raises and attract talented people into education. otherwise, you're perpetuating the problem. by sam

like kids don't have calculators(1:48am est wed aug 20 2003)
why the heck does google think kids would rather wait two minutes for their computer to boot up, another 2 minutes to dial up the internet and then type in their math problems. kids have 99 cent freakin calculators in their backpacks that can do it all for the them. i can understand a complete idiot like al gore (board of directors) promoting this, but come on my fellow geekians. by thegoodgeek
here we go again…(10:08am est wed aug 20 2003)
god, if i hear another teacher complain about how tough they have got it. 1) they only work about eight months a year with vacations and days off. 2) they get better benifits than 90% of the rest of us working stiffs. 3) most teachers only teach a couple a classes a day. 4) in cleveland where i live, the average salary for a teacher is over $33,000/year with a ba and over $60,000/year with a ma. not too shabby when you take everything into account. by bah!
re: bah!(6:39am est thu aug 21 2003)
ok, i'd like to see you try teaching anything to a room full of 14 yr olds. since you seem so knowledgeable about how things should be, why don't you jog on over to your nearest high school, and volunteer to help out for a day or two. i doubt you'd hold the same perspective after an experience in a real learning environment.

stupid git. by sliver7

even does food measurement calculations(12:10pm est thu aug 21 2003)
try “how many teaspoons are in a cup?”.

google: 1 us cup = 48 us teaspoons by neil m

business math(2:22pm est wed aug 27 2003)
this is realy hard to do by myself,and i never done math this hard i need help!!!1 by zemry bufkin
bumming you off(4:56am est tue sep 02 2003)
you geeks are the wedist people i know!
have you never heard of fred durst?
free youre soul man!!!!!!!!!!! by adamster
math homework(7:36pm est mon dec 01 2003)
does any body know of a web site that gives you math anwsers by xxzzttrruyl
cercumference(1:36pm est thu dec 18 2003)
cercumference of 60 inch diameter circle

cercumference of a 36 inch circle by greg

writing expressions and equations(1:08am est thu jan 08 2004)
i dont know how to do it cuz i fell asleep in class by nick beach
writing expressions and equations(1:13am est thu jan 08 2004)
some one help me wit these god dman math problems their hard as hell by nick beach
factors(3:25pm est sun jan 18 2004)
i need anwsers for factors by tomas garcia
prime factorization(11:38pm est thu jan 29 2004)
need help by maria
math(9:31pm est mon feb 16 2004)
need help by alex
none(1:40pm est sun mar 28 2004)
did you know that you can find most of your math homwork answers in the back of the book by simply looking at the title of the page and searching through the back pages by sadie
come back to adamster(1:43pm est sun mar 28 2004)
we might be weird but at least were smart . hey if your not a geek what are you doing at this site adamster by sadie
algebra 1(10:13pm est mon apr 05 2004)
i need help on home work by terry
maths(3:13pm est wed apr 14 2004)
why do we need logs in maths?
i.e for the ph scale or to show population growths.
by dave
geometry(11:17pm est tue may 04 2004)
i need help actually someone to refresh my memory. how do you find the diameter of something

by lila

algebra 2(9:27am est fri may 14 2004)
(2x+9x+1)divied (x+3) by jode
algebra2 (9:30am est fri may 14 2004)
i meed some damn stupid answers to my stupid math crap !!!!give me some anwsers please i'll do anything
!!!!!! by jode
alebra2(9:35am est fri may 14 2004)
well arent you gonna help me comon man i'll show you my mellon breast just help me please. by jode
algebra2(8:53pm est fri aug 20 2004)
i need help on these problems
and on this one to
please help me okay by vincelia smith
math(10:55pm est sun aug 29 2004)
it sucks by cody
math (10:57pm est sun aug 29 2004)
i need help on my math im in the 7th grade math book my e-mail is sk8erpunk9090@yahoo.com please help me by cody
math(7:15pm est wed nov 03 2004)
what are two equivalent fractions for 3/9 by waaa
business law(1:40pm est tue nov 09 2004)
this is by far the most interesting class i had in 17 years, i recommend anyone interested in business cover business law. by butch riley
math(5:24pm est tue dec 21 2004)
please help me solve this equation

9 ? 12 ? 4 ? 8 =4 by janique

math(7:54pm est mon jan 24 2005)
i need help on my math homrwork by page
math(11:31pm est wed jan 26 2005)
i want to know how you get anwsers in math on this website where is the link where you can type in your anwser i can't find it by bobbie
math(3:07pm est mon feb 07 2005)
do you know how to do solving equations with variables on each side. if so can you please help me thankyou!!!! by courtney
math(10:55pm est mon feb 07 2005)
i need help by catherine
math(2:41pm est fri feb 11 2005)
math is easy when you try to learn it but it the dumb ass teachers who get on my nerves if they take it step by step and quit giving all thi damn homework talking bout its for practice fuck practice yal need to teach us right vbye lil eso aka pooh by pooh
reading(4:22pm est wed feb 16 2005)
vdjg kafgkgafgfsafgsafgfafg by campbell
reading(4:26pm est wed feb 16 2005)
ggfi dfigdhfha lkdgh akdgj fajkgha fkd by df
does it matter(1:50pm est wed feb 23 2005)
does it really matter wat y and x equals? by skye
mathematics(4:18pm est wed mar 02 2005)
what is 72/12+487/5 by yesenia
science can kiss my a**!!!!(4:45pm est tue mar 08 2005)
i need help with my scienc homework!!!! its so hard.
by ki-ke
math(5:54pm est tue mar 08 2005)
what is 4+4
by nelly
math(8:01pm est wed mar 09 2005)
i need help by seth
health(8:02pm est wed mar 09 2005)
health can suck my dick by bob
math(8:29pm est wed apr 13 2005)
the clipper sailed for 48 hours at an average speed of six nautical miles per hour.how far did the ship sail by raylon patton
inequalities(8:25pm est thu apr 28 2005)
can u tell me the answers to my math homework? please??? by angel
algebra 2 test/ need many answers(8:27pm est wed may 11 2005)
variables x and y vary inversely. use given values to write an equation relating to x and y. then find y when x=3.

1. x=-1, y=9

*must show work* by vikingjon

math(12:09pm est thu may 12 2005)

i hate math homework and never can find answers on the internet. by alyssa

math(6:08pm est mon jun 06 2005)
fuck you by bob
intermediate algebra(10:47pm est tue jun 28 2005)
how would you solve a problem like this one?

(2×3)2(-3x)2 by sam alexander

help(6:35pm est mon aug 22 2005)
x/6=16/3 by chicken
prime factorization(3:50pm est tue aug 30 2005)

25 by trey

math(11:58pm est thu sep 29 2005)
dang math is very freakin hard by jamal ashford
geometry(3:47pm est tue oct 11 2005)
that is the hardest subject for me an di wish that it never exsisted and i need help on it i think. by anonomus
bcb fgc(6:16pm est thu oct 13 2005)

vjgky by jfhjsdbhf

math(6:30pm est tue nov 01 2005)
math can kiss my ass by you mama
math(10:40pm est sun nov 06 2005)
need help by malerie
pre-algebra(10:05am est tue nov 15 2005)
by samantha
area(3:33pm est tue nov 29 2005)
can you help me find the area of 7.7 meters,13m,and 5m? by ny ny
area(3:36pm est tue nov 29 2005)
help me please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by ny ny
hey(11:59pm est thu dec 01 2005)
hey is anybody here by nm
intermediate maths(3:28pm est wed jan 25 2006)
i need help in understanding about probability
by james
multipling fractions and mixed numbers(8:37pm est mon feb 13 2006)
wat is this answer 11/12*2/3= can u show all the work by maria
math(8:39pm est mon feb 13 2006)
kiss all ma ass bithches by jossie
hey(8:41pm est mon feb 13 2006)
lick ma pussy by dick
quadratic equattions(6:52pm est thu mar 02 2006)
how the hell do you do quadratic equations????? i need help so i can pass my math class!!!! by dumbass
math homework(6:48pm est sun mar 05 2006)
what is this problems answer? ” if angle a is supplementary to angle b , and angle a measures 84 degress what is the measure of angle b? by bob
math homework(11:30am est sun mar 12 2006)
if rectangle a is 6cm by 2cm and rectangle b is 6cm by 8cm what's the ratio giving the awnser in the simplest form:
a the perimeter of rectangle a to the perimeter of rectangle b

and the area in the sam way
what are the answers by sarah randall

math homework(7:48pm est wed mar 22 2006)
what is the equilivent fraction to 0.15? by craphead
prime factorization(3:49pm est mon mar 27 2006)
it is so hard man by james tottman
need help now(5:20pm est mon apr 03 2006)
i need help on my math home work by need help
help(5:54pm est wed apr 12 2006)
help!!!!!!!!!!!i need the answers to my math homeworrk please anyone

by lisa

math(9:34pm est mon may 01 2006)
why don't yall help kids that don't understand there math homework by helping them sove their math problems? and why do we always have to pay to download something that we need help with imediatly? sorry but sometimes i don't know what else to do but get a bad grade by jessica
algebra 1(10:59pm est thu may 18 2006)
im here studying 4 my semester exam & i have all the questions but i dont know how 2 do it i need answers now by irma mendoza r.h.s
algebra 1(11:07pm est thu may 18 2006)
how is this suppost 2 help us on our homework ????????????? by no one
science homework(10:57pm est tue may 23 2006)
how do you find the answer to how does a switch control an electric charge?, what energy source does a hydroelectric plant use to generate electricity? by peaches de'hos'eil s
science homework(10:59pm est tue may 23 2006)
how in the world will this website help me?????????????????????????????????
?????????????????????????????? by peaches de'hos'eil s
math(9:50pm est tue jun 06 2006)
not sure how to do can i get an answer


what is x

i think the answer is 6
am i right
by splash

math(5:01pm est wed aug 09 2006)
i need help on my math.
how many different groups of 48 cars can be formed from 50 cars? by angel
math(2:22pm est thu aug 31 2006)
greatest common factor of 120, 108
by terrence
variables(8:22pm est mon sep 18 2006)
are u serious how in the world am i suppose to get an answer to my stupid homework???… by jennifer mombela
math(8:26pm est mon sep 18 2006)
yah i stiil dont get how im suppose to get a stupid answer to my stupid homework!!!! [im confused] by jennifer mombela
math(7:20pm est wed sep 27 2006)
can someone help me wit my home work please by jasmine
help(7:22pm est wed sep 27 2006)
dammmm can any one help me by jasmine

Call me a nerd (hey, I do write for Mental_floss), but I kind of miss my math homework. Back in the days before algebra and trig, math homework meant math problems embedded in intricate stories, arithmetic trickery and the occasional logic puzzle. In short, they were the kinds of puzzles that people secretly love to do in their free time. But once high school hit, math problems got a lot more tedious and complex and less fun. Now that I'm in college, I've completely ditched math and if it weren't for my obsession with sudoku and kakuro, I doubt I'd use my left brain at all.

So, for the sake of geeky nostalgia, here's the kind of homework I wish I could still get from math classes. Be sure to chime in with the problems you couldn't wait to get home to do.

Hanging Balance Problems

Different shapes hang in balance in elaborate, mobile-like structures. With just a few clues, it was up to you to figure how much each shape weighed in order to keep everything in balance. Looking back, those balance problems were just a sneaky way to get 5th graders thinking about algebra, but making equations with triangles and cubes is way more appealing than thinking in terms of x's and y's. These were by far my favorite form of math homework- I would even ask for extra problems and often my parents would even make their own copies to make math homework a family affair.


I like crosswords. I like math (to a point). So the crossfigure seemed to be the best of both worlds. The crossfigure is just a crossword puzzle, only with numbers. The clues often played off each other (like "29-across minus four"), so solving them involved some knowhow. I didn't get them as homework so often, mostly just as a fun break from the daily grind.

Bobo's Word Problems

Sadly, I can't give you many details on this- Bobo was a character in a series of word problems I was given for a class. Something about having a recurring character (especially one that I imagined to be a clown) just made word problems a little easier to swallow. In fact, I liked the Bobo problems so much, my sixth grade math fair project was just a series of Bobo's adventures that I solved.

Anything related to sports

Even though calculus had it's fair share of word problems, they just weren't real enough situations. When will I be trying to figure out the volume of a tank of oil that is simultaneously being filled and drained at different rates? Even the old-school arithmetic problems were a little hard to grasp- who shares apples anyways? But sports made word problems easier to handle. Figuring out different ways to make an NFL team score 20 points or figuring out a pitcher's ERA made math fun. Thankfully, fellow blogger Sandy was able to bring back that feeling with this Brain Game last month.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *