# Happy Birthday, Washington!

February 17, 2013

Today is George Washington’s birthday! He would be 281 years old today. Here are some interesting facts about George Washington (from buzzle.com):

• He loved Ice cream! He had an ice cream cooler installed in his house.
• He never went to college- his dad and older brother taught him
• He was the only president that never lived in Washington, DC. He commuted by boat from Mount Vernon in Virginia
• To this day, he is the only president to be elected unanimously, receiving all 69 electoral votes.
• He disliked the idea of political parties, and did not belong to one
• Washington state, named after him, is the only state to be named after an American

Our quarter has a picture of George Washington on it. But George Washington didn’t know that – he wouldn’t even know what a quarter was! When Washington was president in the late 1700’s, the currency in use was a British system full of pence, shillings, and farthings. George Washington’s face did not appear on the quarter until 1932! It was meant as a commemorative model to celebrate his bicentennial, but instead it became the long-lasting quarter design (Wikipedia.com).

Let’s do a math puzzle using the currency Washington would have used.

• 4 farthings = 1 penny
• 2 half pennies (pronounced hay-pennies) = 1 penny
• 12 pence (pennies) = 1 shilling
• 10 shillings and 6 pence = ½ guinea
• 20 shillings = 1 pound
• 21 shillings = 1 guinea

George left his home in Mount Vernon one morning, and on the way to work decided to stop and buy a few gifts for his wife, Martha. He bought her a checkerboard that cost 2 shillings, 6 pence, 1 farthings and a fancy new dress that cost 1/2 guinea and 9 shillings. He gave the shopkeeper 1 pound and 1 guinea.

1. How much was his purchase in pence?
2. What is the smallest amount of change he could have received?

Check back tomorrow, we’ll show our work and give the answers!