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Die Hard

Category: Transformations, Relations & Functions, Number Operations, Measurements, and Variables & Equations
Suitable for Grade Level: Elementary and Secondary

The Math in this Problem:

This brain teaser involves experimenting with measurements and various containers. Students will work on problem-solving skills, using simple arithmetic operations (addition and subtraction) to derive at solutions for this investigation.

In the movie Die Hard, 4L of water must be weighed, and if incorrect, the fountain from which the water is drawn will explode, killing our heroes Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as many innocent bystanders.

The terrorists have provided a 3L and a 5L container with which Bruce and Samuel must get the 4L. Unfortunately, they are more used to action sequences, not sitting down and methodically solving a problem, so it very quickly becomes obvious that the whole movie is going to end tragically.

Luckily, you have been hired as one of those innocent bystanders, but realizing the trouble that Bruce and Samuel are in, you courageously step forward and help.

Stepping into the water is not necessary to help Bruce and Samuel.


Bruce and Samuel are so impressed with your initiative, that they decide to include you as a third member of their crime fighting team, but first they want you to explain a scrap of paper discovered on the terrorist responsible for the 4L problem. The scrap of paper shows a bouncing ball on a quadrilateral pool table: