The Christmas When Santa Found Gold


One Christmas, Santa was picking up all of the Christmas cards from off the mat, where they had been posted through the letterbox. There was a postcard from Australia and a catalogue for the grotto. There even was a ticket for the Lapland lucky lotto. As Santa looked a little closer, he got a real surprise, (a surprise that was even better than one of Mrs. Christmas’s mince pies !). There, in a pile of junk mail, flyers and papers, was a mysterious looking envelope all about a pirate’s treasure trail. On the front, was a stamp and an inscription – “To Santa, Best wishes from Pirate Jim”. Hoping that it was something good, Santa opened it as fast as he could. Perhaps even an invitation to a party – or a trip on Pirate Jim’s yacht. What a lucky chap ! When Santa peeked inside, it was a treasure map – with X marking the spot of Christmas gold – just like the Wise Men had given to baby Jesus. Gadzooks ! He hadn’t thought before that a pirate’s ship would be a good way for his round – the – world trip. Santa went to fetch his magnifying glass, the one he used for reading the newspaper and doing his homework in class. It was a map of Lapland, showing the snowman in the garden, the gnomes in the garden shed – it even showed the location of the lost spade, in Santa’s flowerbed. The location of toy cupboard and the secret place where Mrs. Christmas kept her mince pie recipe in the kitchen were also clearly marked. Maybe the map might come in handy, to show where he lost his slippers last Monday ! Off they all set, on the trail of hidden treasure. The Christmas fairy flew overhead. “The treasure might be by the eskimo’s igloo”, the snowman said, hoping that perhaps, he would get a bit of treasure, too. Soon, in the snow, along the garden path, there was a trail of footprints going past the bird bath. They stomped till after lunch, but still, with no luck. They didn’t find any gold whatsoever and you wouldn’t believe the time it took ! Then the robin had an idea – maybe they could used the metal detector that he’d been given as a present last year ! They combed the lawn, inch by inch, until suddenly the metal detector buzzed loudly … they’d struck gold ! (at last, because the weather was getting rather cold). The gnomes came to help dig a big hole … soon it was a metre deep in the snow and there was nowhere else for the hole to go. When “CRASH !” the spade noisily rang out – the carol singers happily started to sing and jump about. All the gnomes surrounded Santa as he opened the treasure chest … there was gold, precious jewels and trinkets as well as one or two biscuits for the robin redbreast. That Christmas was the most luxurious that the grotto had ever seen – there were presents for everyone (and the biggest Christmas turkey that had ever been ! In fact, it almost flew over the evergreen !).


Hidden Maths Inside A Christmas Treasure Chest

1. The mail on Santa’s mat that came through the letterbox included, 1 treasure map, 3 newspapers, 6 postcards, 9 Christmas cards and 12 flyers.

a) What was the total number of mail ?

b) If Santa picked one thing at random, what was it most likely to be ? Why ?

c) What were the chances that Santa picked a newspaper ? Give your answer as a ratio. 2. If one shovel contained 0.2 kg of soil, how many times did Santa have to dig to amass 10 kg ?

3. It took Santa 3 minutes to dig 10 cm, how far had he dug after one hour ? Give your answer in cm and m.

4. Santa found 1000 coins, but dropped 2 % carrying the treasure chest back to the grotto. How many were left ?

5. The treasure chest contained 5 necklaces, 10 bracelets and 15 gold rings. Express this as a ratio.

6. What fraction of the jewels were necklaces ?

7. What decimal of the jewels were bracelets ?

8. What percentage of the jewels were gold rings ?

9. If Santa’s magnifying glass magnified everything in a proportion of 400 %, how tall did the 1.5 m tall snowman then appear ?

10. The metal detector bleeped once every 5 m. Santa found treasure on the one – hundredth bleep. How far had he walked ? Give your answer in m and km.

© Jacqueline Richards 2008

Answers :

1. a) 1 + 3 + 6 + 9 + 12 = 31 ; b) flyer ; because there is more of them ; c) 3 : 31

2. 10 / 0.2 = 50 shovelfuls 3. 10 (60 / 3 = 20) =200 cm = 2 m

4. 1000 – (1000 / 100 x 2 = 20) = 1980 coins

5. 1 : 2 : 3

6. 5 / 30 = 1 / 6 th

7. 10 / 30 = 0.33r

8. 15 / 30 = 1 / 2 = 50%

9. 1.5 x 4 = 6 m

10. 100 x 5 = 500 m = 0.5 km

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