Quandaries and Queries


A column of soldiers is 100 meters long. Their sergeant at the rear of the column gives the order to march. The sergeant marches alongside the column to its head and then back to the rear, at which point he gives the order to halt. In all, the column of soldiers has marched 100 meters. How far has the sergeant marched? I say 187.5 meters, but those who teach or who have taught mathematics tell me no. Some say much more and some different. What do you say?

Thanks for considering. Art



Hi Art,

Suppose that the column remained stationary and the sergeant walked from the rear to the head and then back. In this case he would have walked 200 meters. Suppose now that this happened on the deck of a ship and, in the time it took the sergeant to walk from the rear to front and back, the ship had traveled 100 meters How far did the sergeant walk?



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