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If You Want to Throw a Fruitcake…

by Laura Overdeck

Does anyone *really* like fruitcake? After all, it’s a pile of dried fruit mashed into the shape of a cake. It takes months to go bad, since even germs don’t want to eat it. Grown-ups who get a fruitcake as a present sometimes re-gift it to someone else to get rid of it. And now, they can throw it. Today is National Fruitcake Toss Day, and every year a town in Colorado holds a big contest to find out which kid can toss fruitcake the farthest. They throw it using a catapult — a big machine with a long arm for flinging things — and as you’ll see from the math, fruitcake can fly far and fast.

Wee ones: If your fruitcake has raisins, craisins, and apricot in it, how many types of fruit does it mash together?

Little kids: If you toss your 6th fruitcake, then your 7th, then your 8th, what number fruitcake do you toss next?  Bonus: If each fruitcake uses 4 cups of dried fruit, how many cups do you need to make your next 2 fruitcakes?

Big kids: If your catapult has a 5-foot-long arm and can hurl a fruitcake 5 times as far as that, how far will it fly?  Bonus: If you want the fruitcake to fly 80 feet, how long would the arm have to be if it always throws 5 times its length?












Wee ones: 3 types of fruit.

Little kids: Your 9th fruitcake.  Bonus: 8 cups.

Big kids: 25 feet.  Bonus: 16 feet long.

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