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Richard Clark

10 More Fun Questions Kids Can Answer with Wolfram|Alpha

November 20, 2012 —
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If I may be so bold as to make a value judgment, kids are—if nothing else—totally super awesome. A little over two years ago, we wrote a blog post entitled “10 Fun Questions Kids Can Answer with Wolfram|Alpha.” Since then, however, our blogs have focused on expanded functionality, socioeconomic data, sports data, and all sorts of things that are really cool but, truthfully, geared toward people whose ages are in the double digits. Luckily, Wolfram|Alpha can compute answers to all sorts of queries kids (or people who self-identify as kids) have, too.

So let’s start out with dinosaurs. I recently learned that the brontosaurus is formally called an apatosaurus. Wolfram|Alpha knows that not everyone knows that, though, so if we query “Compare T-Rex, Brontosaurus,” we get information on both Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus. “They never saurus coming!” you could say. The apatosaurus is potentially twice as long as the T-Rex, and weighs several times as much—but curiously enough, the public is more interested in the T-Rex, as evidenced by how many more times its Wikipedia page is queried.

Compare T-rex, Brontosaurus

Wolfram|Alpha recently expanded its functionality again to include word problems. The bane of second grade just got a bit easier with our computational knowledge engine. Let’s ask, “If Sally has three apples, and gives Jon one apple, how many apples does Sally have left?

If Sally has three apples, and gives Jon one apple, how many apples does Sally have left?

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The book stars four women named Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. With Wolfram|Alpha, you can see how popular names are over time. We can see, for example, that Jo became a reasonably popular name in the 1940s–60s, Beth became reasonably popular around that same time, and Amy became a very popular name in the mid 1970s. In fact, 1 in 882 people in the United States are named Amy.

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it’s a terrific way to simultaneously hang with family and eat all the food. You could count down the hours until Thanksgiving, and for that matter, the days until New Year’s Eve. Or how about this for an interesting question—what day is your 10,000th day of being alive? Mine is in February 2015. I’ll be, uh, old.

September 18, 1987 plus 10,000 days

Suppose you’re doing more math homework, and your teacher assigns you some long division. Wolfram|Alpha can help you teach yourself how to do it. Let’s type “3,430 divided by 7” into Wolfram|Alpha. Then let’s click the “Step-by-step solution” pod, and click “Use long division”.

Wolfram|Alpha Step-by-step Solution

You can see which words rhyme with other words by using Wolfram|Alpha. Let’s use the query “words that rhyme with banana” because I, personally, love bananas. Then, let’s try it with “words that rhyme with orange” just to keep the fruit theme going on.

Words that rhyme with banana

It seems like any given city or state in America has some sort of rivalry with another one. Suppose you’re living in Indiana, and you want to analyze your geographic rivals. Type in “states that border Indiana” into Wolfram|Alpha. We can tell you all about the people who live in rival cities and states.

States that border Indiana

Ever wonder how tall you are in comparison to other kids your age? Wolfram|Alpha can tell you. Query your age and height, and you’ll get a complete growth chart showing how you compare to your peers, and—if you remain in your percentile—how tall you’ll likely be as an adult.

6 year old girl, 4'0"

When I was a kid, I recall having to look up planets and moons individually in large encyclopedias, which made comparing planets and planetary objects a chore. Wolfram|Alpha is the go-to place for asking important questions, such as “Which planetary moons are larger than Mercury?

Which planetary moons are larger than Mercury?

QR codes are everywhere these days, but did you know you can make one yourself? If you type in your name and then “QR code” into Wolfram|Alpha, you’ll have a fully functional and personalized code!

Richard Clark QR code

So why not experiment with Wolfram|Alpha to see what other fun questions you can answer? You can also check out our Wolfram Fun Facts Twitter feed, or the Wolfram|Alpha Tumblr. Or leave us a comment in the box below. We’d love to know what you think.