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Uncle Bob introduces

Hefty Amounts – or Not?

Knowing the value of U.S. coins will help in part with the following tasks. Familiarity with some of their other measures will also play a part. A table of those measures is provided below and you can also visit the website


Let’s say we each have a piggy bank containing exactly seven pennies, seven nickels, seven dimes, and seven quarters – seven of each type less than a half dollar.

Example task. Can we make the collection worth 49 cents that weighs the most? Solution. The table shows us that pennies are the heaviest for their value, but we can use only four of them. Nickels – we’ve all had a pocketful at times give a serious tug at the waistband. Seven nickels and four pennies bring us to 39 cents and we are forced to use a dime to make the total. If we used one quarter instead, then that would replace the dime and three hefty nickels, so we won’t. Total weight: 47.268 grams.

If you know or work with stay-at-home math scholars, they could help with the arithmetic, or a budding IT person might even fashion a spreadsheet to facilitate the following tasks.

a. Make the heaviest collection worth $1.22.

b. Make the lightest collection worth $1.36.

c. Referring to the thickness data, make the tallest stack worth $1.91.

d. Make the shortest stack worth $1.61.

Are some amounts more challenging than others? Can you think of some other tasks? Let us know.


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