Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

My son is 8 and is excited about April Fool's Day. The only mathy joke I know that he'd like is...

Q: Why was 6 afraid of 7?
A: Because 7 ate 9!

But that's not really an April Fool's joke. Anyone have any good ones I can 'share' with him?

[Pat writes about a good mathy April Fool's joke (at 1975), but it's not my son's speed.]


  1. Q: What did one math book say to the other math book?

    A: I don't know about you, but I've got problems!

  2. I put my aim for my lesson in greek

  3. Ben had trouble posting and emailed me this:

    OMG Sue, okay. I actually hate April Fool's Day because I'm very
    gullible. However I do have something to share with you. This is
    straight from the very first page of Raymond Smullyan's delightful
    book of logic puzzles, What Is the Name of This Book?. I am
    transcribing verbatim:

    My introduction to logic was at the age of six. It happened this way:
    On April 1, 1925, I was sick in bed with grippe, or flu, or something.
    In the morning my brother Emile (ten years my senior) came into my
    bedroom and said: "Well, Raymond, today is April Fool's Day, and I
    will fool you as you have never been fooled before!" I waited all day
    long for him to fool me, but he didn't. Late that night, my mother
    asked me, "Why don't you go to sleep?" I replied, "I'm waiting for
    Emile to fool me." My mother turned to Emile and said, "Emile, will
    you please fool the child!" Emile then turned to me, and the following
    dialogue ensued:

    Emile / So, you expected me to fool you, didn't you?
    Raymond / Yes.
    Emile / But I didn't, did I?
    Raymond / No.
    Emile / But you expected me to, didn't you?
    Raymond / Yes.
    Emile / So I fooled you, didn't I!

    Well, I recall lying in bed long after the lights were turned out
    wondering whether or not I had really been fooled. On the one hand, if
    I wasn't fooled, then I did not get what I expected, hence I was
    fooled. (This was Emile's argument.) But with equal reason it can be
    said that if I was fooled, then I did get what I expected, so
    then, in what sense was I fooled. So, was I fooled or wasn't I?

  4. Ben, I'm very gullible too. My son said my shoes were untied, and as I glanced said, "April Fool's! You're not even wearing shoes!"

    I wonder if he'd be intrigued if I tried this on him... Thanks for sharing this.

    [I think it was your website that it balked at. I had to delete that to post your comment...]

  5. Chris Hazard did the version of Smullyan's on his game site yesterday:
    Fooled me!

    I like to prove to kids they have six or four or whatever fingers on their hands, though it works better with younger kids - by messing up count theatrically, starting from 0 instead of 1, counting fingers twice and so on.

    You can also play a game: "We count three, two, one, go and show numbers on our fingers. Then we multiply them. If the result is odd, you win, if it's even, I win. Three, two, one, go!"
    Of course, you always win.

    We need to aggregate April 1st math! Good question, Sue!

  6. For some reason, the checkbox for follow-up comments isn't there when I leave one comment. I guess I need to be logged for it to appear.

  7. i hate it too and for the same reason
    ben gave: i'm too easy a target.

    also i have no taste for lying to
    people just to see if they'll believe me
    so i can ridicule them.

    "trust no one" is probably
    a valuable life-lesson but
    there'll be plenty of opportunities
    for my acquaintances to learn it
    without me going out of my way
    to squander whatever good will
    there might be between us
    on such a project. feh.

    all this about what we can post
    on which passwords? well,
    something to do with at least
    one reason i'm signing as

    yours in the struggle,

  8. Maria says it takes a lot of love to make memorizing feel good. Maybe it takes even more love to make April Fool's jokes feel good.

    My son was so into it, I wanted to come up with April Fool's jokes to make him happy. But I made a mistake and scared my son when I pretended something bad had happened. And of course, pretending something good means there's disappointment in finding out.

    I think my son's untied shoe joke was at a good level. And my nephew pretended to stumble and fall. My relief that he wasn't hurt made it funny to me. Slapstick, with small bad things, seemed to be the order of the day.

    I did the Smullyan one on my nephew, who likes math and chess and probably logic. I think he liked it.

    Maria, can you imagine April Fool's jokes that Ben, Owen, and I would like?

  9. I got a postcard in the mail today that may have been an April Fool's joke. It's addressed to Sue VanHattum, MATH MAMA WRITES. (I was tickled to get my first U.S. mail addressed to Math Mama.)

    The address is on a sticker, there's no handwritten message, and the other side is a shiny graphic with a double yellow line running down a dark street with buildings on one side, and two splotches of blood on the yellow lines.

    It says ALL WARS HAVE RULES, and then smaller, I'm paranoid enough to be wary of checking out the website.

    I don't like this joke, mainly because I don't know who it comes from.

  10. @Math Teacher: Can you share with us what it said?

  11. By the way, your post card comes from a conventional book advertising campaign. Looks like they are targeting bloggers with cards.

  12. Yep. I got another scary card, and then two more, one of which was the book ad. Obnoxious. I wouldn't buy it now even if I were interested.

    I don't believe my address is particularly easy to find online. Maybe they pay to use an electronic phone book?

  13. Sue, you have your full name and your town on Blogger. You can search in White Pages and it gives your address.

  14. White pages doesn't seem to give the house number.


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