So which side would you have fought for?


I give tours to school groups at Wilson's Creek. History, to most students, is the most boring subject there is. So, I endeavored to make it interesting, alive, and applicable too today. Before starting a tour, I encouraged them to think and tried to get their attention by giving them the opportunity of missing the tour if they could answer one single problem. No one ever has. Here is your shot.

Three soldiers enter a town and decide they are tired of sleeping on the ground. They go to the inn and ask how much for a room? The innkeeper advises them it is $30. So each man pays $10 and they go to their room. The night clerk comes in later and while adding up the books, determines the three men have been overcharged. The room is only $25. So he calls over the bell hop and hands him 5, $1 bills and tells him to take the money up to the three soldiers. As the bellhop walks up the stairs, he wonders "How am I going to split $5 between three soldiers.". So he sticks $2 dollars in his pocket. He goes to the room, advises them they were overcharged, and gives them each a dollar.

Now... each soldier paid $10 for the room and got a dollar back. 3 X 9 = $27. The bellhop has $2 in his pocket. $27 + $2 = $29. What happened to the other dollar?

Try to solve it, then move down the page...

The author explains to one young man about the cannon

at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Ok...before you stay up all night trying to figure this one out..there is no answer. The way I "asked" the question makes it impossible to "answer". Why I used this was to show the young people that
#1 they don't yet have all the answers to life,
#2 older people aren't as stupid as they think (ok some may be)
#3 sometimes in life, there are no easy answers.
Life, and the decisions they will be asked to make, is not always a clear cut black and white, as some would have us believe. It was a simple puzzle...but very effective in starting their interest in what was next.

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