A special thank you to the 8th grade math students from Johnsburg Junior High School in IL for submitting the following math problem to the 2018 Earth Day Math Contest:

If a tree grows 5 branches and each of those branches grows an additional 5 branches and each of those grow another 5 branches, how many branches are on the tree?

We hope you enjoy celebrating earth day this week with this fun math problem. This year’s earth day theme is to help end plastic pollution. Here are some problems submitted related to this year’s theme. Enjoy and share with your class!

  1. Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away! Only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled. How many bottles are recycled an hour? How many more would be recycled if the percentage rose to 30%
  2. It takes 100 to 400 years for plastics to break down in a landfill. If you buried a plastic bottle today what is the soonest date that it would be broken down?
  3. Five recycled plastic bottles provide enough fiber to create one square foot of carpet. If the carpet in your classroom is 50 square feet how many plastic bottles would need to be recycled to make it.
  4. Americans buy 29 billion bottles of water a year, more than any other nation. It takes 17 million barrels of crude oil to make this many plastic water bottles. How many billion bottles can be manufactured from one barrel of crude oil?
  5. If 32,000,000 tons of plastic were produced in 2017 and only 9% was recycled, how much plastic was not recycled?

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