The Problem with Envelope Stuffers

Here’s a post I’ve drafted in my head for a while and spoken to a few friends and colleagues about. It’s about a math problem.

The problem: if it takes 3 workers 6 hours to stuff 1620 envelopes, how many hours will it take 4 workers to stuff 720 envelopes?

My answer: need more information. We can’t assume that all workers are equally skilled at envelope stuffing, have the same mental and physical capabilities to do that task in exactly the same way/rate, and that they won’t get paper cuts or fall asleep out of boredom before the task is done.

And that’s why I’m a learning designer and not a mathematician.

P.S. the photo/puzzle is a page from this Mensa calendar, and I’ve thrown away more pages out of frustration than completed the puzzles. I gravitate to the word puzzles, and some of those are cool.

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