Many years ago, in a very small school, in an extremely small town, something very strange happened, something very strange indeed. Here’s the whole story. Well at least a fraction of it…
At this small school, which was tucked into the woods, none of the students ever smiled, and on sunny days nobody ran around and played tag or football, or even talked and laughed about their favorite TV shows. No, this school was different because the math teacher, Mr. Al Geebrah was so mean. He was actually mean squared, which is to say mean times mean. In other words, on the average, he was the meanest! And with him around no one ever had any fun.
One-time Mr. Geebrah was so mean, he made the students figure out how many 12ths were in 5 wholes! It took them all day, but they finally figured it out, and when they did he was very ungrateful and mean as always.
The only time the students in that school smiled was when they would sit and wonder how better their lives would be if Mr. Geebrah was subtracted from their lives. It was like Mr. Geebrah’s hobby to make those little kids suffer.
One fine morning at this small school, things were especially quiet because the students knew Mr. Geebrah was giving a math test, and math test days were the scariest days of all! Why was that you may ask? Well that’s because, some people believed that on nights after math tests, Mr. Geebrah would sneak around town and take students that didn’t do well and bring them to suffer in his evil castle of math.
At 9 o’clock the bell rang, and students filed into Mr. Geebrah’s class for their test. He put test papers on the students’ desks and told them they better be silent and as always, the students scared to death did so!
It was not even five minutes into the test before Bic began to weep. First his tears soaked 1/3 of his test, then 2/3 of his test, and finally they’d soaked 3/3, or in other words, his whole math test!
Bic’s test paper was so soggy, the numbers he’d written began to blur. All the sixes seeped into the eights, and the eights ran into the nines. After the test, Bic continued to cry.
“Are you alright Bic, what’s wrong?” asked Bic’s friend Crown. “I just couldn’t remember how to add fractions. I’m going to fail!” “Don’t worry,” said Crown “I’ll show you tomorrow, it’s easy once you practice.” But Bic. was not in school the next day. He was the only student absent from math class when the students sat down in their seats. The others had a feeling about where he was but didn’t want to talk about it.
That whole day all the students avoided Mr. Geebrah thinking they would be taken too, and the thought of that gave all the students chills.
Mr. Geebrah said, “Here are your math tests! It’s really a miracle most of you passed and only a small fraction failed. That small fraction is Bic!” “Speaking of Bic,” called out Crown, “Does anyone know where he is?”
Now, it wasn’t odd for Crown to call out in class, he did it all the time, but it was odd that Mr. Geebrah didn’t yell at Crown for calling out in class. He always yelled and screamed at students for calling out in class. But this time, Mr. Geebrah just turned toward the blackboard and laughed an evil laugh.
After school that day, Crown was standing in the yard with his friends, Joe and Mike. Crown was asking them if they knew what happened to Bic. ‘I didn’t see him, and usually we walk to school the same way,’ said Mike. ‘I didn’t see him either,’ said Joe, who began teasing Crown about his new haircut. Crown was about to start making fun of Joe’s unusually large head when the three of them saw a strange bird flying through the sky. “That’s the strangest looking bird I’ve ever seen,” said Mike. ‘Yeah,’ said Joe, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before, it looks so weird!’ They watched as the bird dropped something from its talons, and three pieces of gold colored paper fluttered down to the ground in front them. They were curious to find out what was there in the paper and they picked it up.
Joe picked up one of the pieces of paper and looked at it. The paper had writing on it. It said:
He looked up and shrugged, “What’s a ‘vil Cast?” Mike picked up another piece of the paper. It said:
“I wonder where the E is and why would we need a map to get there? “asked Mike. Crown shrugged and picked up the third piece. It said:
“What’s a le of Math? This writing doesn’t make any sense…” “Hey, maybe the 3 pieces go together! Maybe it’s some sort of puzzle,” said Joe. “Yeah, but how would they go together?” asked Jake. The students looked at their papers again. “Look, there are fractions written on the bottom of the papers,” said Crown, and as he said it, the same strange bird flew over again and crowed,
“Well, there’s our clue,” said Mikeand the students arranged the papers so that the fractions went from smallest to largest. They finally were able to read the message. To their surprise the puzzle read “Map to the Evil Castle of Math” and this almost made Crown pee in his pants, but he knew it was the key to finding his friend Bic.
Mike yelled, “It says Map to the Evil Castle of Math!”, they all stood in silence for a minute. “That’s not real. There’s no evil castle of math!” yelled Crown. ‘Yes there is,” said Joe. “There is no map!” yelled Crown, “And there’s no such thing as an evil castle of math either!” “Wanna’ bet?” said Joe, “My brother told me Mr. Geebrah had him prisoner there for 2 months.” “You’re so naive,” said Crown as he looked at the back of the paper. “Hey, there’s something written on the back of this.’ The students put the papers together again and saw this message:
Help Me! I’m Near Numerator
“Whaterator?” asked Mike who didn’t always pay attention in math class. “Somethin’ ate-her?” asked Joe who also didn’t always pay attention in math class. “Don’t you guys know anything! A numerator is part of a fraction,” said Crown,
“The top part! It has nothing to do with eating!” “Hey, doesn’t that look like Bic’s handwriting. I think this is his message,” said Mike. “You’re right! That’s totally Bic’s handwriting! We have to find the map!” cried Crown. “Maybe he really is being held in a castle of math!” “but…but isn’t that the place we all want to stay out of.” Mumbled Mike “oh come on Mike, this is Bic we are talking about he would have done something like this for us if we ever needed him” Crown said desperately hoping Mike will help. “The Evil Castle of Math it is!” yelled Mike.
“Told you Mr. Geebrah had an evil castle!” said Joe. “You always think you’re right!” yelled Crown. “Can you guys stop fighting?’ said Mike, ‘Now are there any more clues on these pieces of paper? We need to find that map.’ They studied the papers more carefully and didn’t see anything special about them. There was no map anywhere. They thought, and they thought. Finally Crown said, ‘I wonder what would happen if we add the fractions on the papers. Maybe it will give us some sort of clue.’ ‘Can’t hurt let’s give it a shot,’ said Mike. ‘If I can remember how to add fractions,’ said Joe. These fractions are easy to add, they all have the same denominator,’ said Crown confidently.
I think we only have half of the paper!’ said Crown. Why do you say that?’ asked Joe Because 6/12 is equal to one half.’ replied Crown ‘Yeah, said Mike, we need another 6/12 before we have 12/12 or the whole paper. I bet the other half has the map!’ Just then, the strange bird flew over again and dropped three more pieces of paper. “We seem to be running into many birds today!” scoffed Mike as the trio ran and collected them. “Mine says 6/24,” said Crown “I got 4/24!” yelled Joe. “And I got 2/24,” said Mike. But these have 24 in the denominator!’ yelled Joe. How do we know if we got another half if they don’t have the same denominator?’ Because a half is a half!’ yelled Crown, ‘it doesn’t matter what the denominator is!’ Let’s add them and see if they reduce.
‘Now we have two halves of the paper!’ yelled Joe ‘6/12 made up one half,’ said Crown. ‘Yeah, and 12/24 makes up the other half!’ said Mike. ‘That means we have the whole paper! But where’s the map?’ asked Crown They looked at the back of the pieces of paper and saw some strange markings on them. ‘I bet that’s the map part!’ yelled Mike. “Let’s put this puzzle together to see how we can save Bic!” said Joe. The students tried to put the map together, but it wasn’t easy. The pieces seemed to be changing shape as they worked with them. “I think Mr. Geebrah must have put some sort of curse on this paper, how come we can’t get these 6 simple pieces of paper to fit together?’ asked Joe. Over an hour passed and they still hadn’t solved the puzzle. “Look, Guys,’ said Mike, ‘it’s getting late, and I have to get home for dinner or my parents are goanna’ worry. Let’s meet back here in front of school at 8 to solve this.”
The three agreed and they headed home. It was one of the most eventful days they ever had.
Later that night, at 8 PM, the three met back at the school with their flashlights. It’s kind of creepy here at night,” said Mike, “Yeah, I feel like someone’s watching us!” said Joe. “It’s as if the school has eyes,” said Crown. ‘Yeah, Mr. Geebrah’s evil eyes!’ said Joe. Even though they were scared, they began trying to put the sheet of paper together. Once again, they were having trouble.
Suddenly, they heard a strange sound. It was the screeching of a bird, they all were terrified, and they wondered why that birds was flying around at night. But then they heard the bird…
“I wonder why it would want us to do that?” asked Crown. “I don’t know, but it’s worth a try,” said Joe. The three friends held their paper up in the moonlight and something strange began to happen. The paper began to float up into the air and then twirl and twist in circles as it came back down to the ground in one whole piece. “Look, the map put itself together!” yelled Joe. Mike picked the map up and they looked at it. It had a bunch of circles with fractions on them. This was one complicated map! This map looks like the work of Mr. Geebrah, the world’s most evil math teacher!” yelled Crown. ‘This puzzle is hard,’ said Joe, ‘but we have to solve it to save Bic!”
“wait!” yelled crown
“What is it now Crown, you know we have to act fast if we want to save Bic.” Said Joe
“Before we start I think we should do some exercise and warm up, it will relax our minds and we will be able to work faster.” Whispered Crown Joe looked at Mike and suddenly they both burst into laughter
“are you crazy, we are here to solve a puzzle not run a marathon!” laughed Mike.
“let’s just start with the puzzle, shall we” said Joe in a serious tone And they looked at the map once again.
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