Triple the Fun

March Madness, America’s favorite basketball tournament, starts tomorrow, March 14! In basketball, you score 2 points with a basket, but 3 points if you shoot from farther away. Math shows you how to win: you have to make 1/2 of 100 2-pointers to score 100 points, but only 1/3 of 100 3-pointers to score 99 points. So why not shoot only 3-pointers? Well, earlier this season, one college team did just that, setting a world record! The Grinnell Pioneers tossed up 111 3-point shots, won their game, and maybe inspired some other teams – we’ll have to watch to find out! Wee ones: Do you think you’ve done anything more than 100 times? Try to name something! Little kids: If your team has scored 7 points from 2-pointers and 3-pointers, how many of each type of shot must have you scored? Bonus: Can you score 8 points by shooting only 3-pointers? Try counting up by 3s! Big kids: If you take an equal number of shots, why does making 50% of 2-pointers and 33% of 3-pointers work out to be about the same number of points? Bonus: If the winning team made 40 3-pointers and scored a total of 124 points, did they score any non-3-point-shot points? Answers: Wee ones: We bet there are lots of things you’ve done more than 100 times, like brush your teeth, say “good morning!” or eat your favorite snack. Little kids: Your team has scored 2 2-pointers and 1 3-pointer, to make 2 + 2 + 3 = 7. Bonus: No, because 2 3-pointers would make 6 points, and 3 3-pointers would make 9 points! Big kids: Because on average you’re making 1 point per shot. 1/2 x 2 = 1 = 1/3 x 3. Bonus: Yes, because 40 x 3 = 120, 4 less than 124. Those extra 4 points were from 4 free throws!

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