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·         Humans average 2 words per second when speaking.

·         Humans average 60 minutes per day speaking.

How many words will you speak in your (average) life of 75 years?

(hint: break it down to smaller questions)

This is the question that the Applied Math guys worked on yesterday. (I got the question from Number Freaking, an excellent book.  Go buy it!)

Some good comments/questions from the students: “I talk a lot more than 60 minutes a day, and probably faster than 2 words per second”, “I wasn’t talking for the first two years of my life, so do I have to add that in?”, and “What about leap years?”.  I didn’t directly answer any of their questions, and I only showed my calculations after they had all committed to a result and put it on the whiteboard.

Nice activity for a throwaway 20 minutes at the end of class.

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