# When I learn a little bit about talking math with my kids

Every day I select (essentially at random) an old AMC contest problem to go through with my older son. I do this mostly for a bit of variety in the math we do daily, but also for building up a little problem solving experience for him. Currently I’m picking problems from the old AMC 10s.

The problem we picked on Friday was #11 on the 2008 AMC 10a:

Here is the problem without the link:

“While Steve and LeRoy are fishing 1 mile from shore, their boat springs a leak, and water comes in at a constant rate of 10 gallons per minute. The boat will sink if it takes in more than 30 gallons of water. Steve starts rowing toward the shore at a constant rate of 4 miles per hour while LeRoy bails water out of the boat. What is the slowest rate, in gallons per minute, at which LeRoy can bail if they are to reach the shore without sinking?”

Upon first reading the problem my son thought that it was going to be pretty difficult. We talked through a little bit about what you needed to know in order to solve the problem, and he was surprised that the solution was actually not as difficult as he expected.

I told him that it reminded me of a problem that I had struggled with on an exam when I was in high school. That problem was involved escalators, but I didn’t remember the details except that the problem really gave me fits. This evening I saw Tracy Johnston Zager this post this crazy video on twitter and figured it must be some sort of sign!

So, after watching this video I had to find the problem that gave me trouble in high school! Eventually I did: