POW #8: Join the Bacterial Team

Join The Bacterial Team
Justin decided that the only way to get out of Mr. Bott’s remedial math class and into Mr. LeFour’s algebra class was to join the baseball team. The only problem was that he didn’t have  a clue how to play. For his plan to work, Justin would have to impress Mr. LeFour with his skills.  Unfortunately it wasn’t Justin’s math skills that Mr. LeFour would notice.
  All three of Justin’s friends (Tyrone, Juli and Wendy) were in Mr. LeFour’s class and though Tyrone was always complaining about the work load, Justin noticed that they were pretty happy with the things they were learning in the class. According to Juli, Mr. LeFour’s class was pretty laid back and he followed the algebra book very predictably. “But if you are on the baseball team, you get the royal treatment,” she added with a look of disdain on her face. “I hear that they automatically place you in his class if you’re on the team. It’s like he controls the whole thing or something. Pretty corrupt if you ask me.” 
“In this school, corrupt is a way of life,” thought Justin. “I may as well get in the game myself.”
But how does one go about learning to play baseball from scratch? Back in New York City, nobody he knew was into baseball. The Yankees and the Mets were all over the t.v., but his school was the soccer capital of the City. He was the star goalie and captain of the team. It seemed obvious to Justin that his soccer skills would not carry over to baseball.
One thing that Justin did not lack was confidence in his abilities to overcome obstacles. He decided to go directly to Mr. LeFour and speak to him directly about joining the baseball team. He would figure out the game later.
After school the next day Justin went to Mr. LeFour’s classroom to knock on the door. He found the door left partially open. When he peered in he saw Mr. Lefour sitting at a table with a student Justin knew only in passing: Sydney. Justin was shocked. He could not imagine what she could have possibly done to be held back after class by a teacher. Juli and Wendy were both in awe of her. She was Head Cheerleader, star athlete and academic honor roll every month. “What’s left for her to accomplish?” said Juli as Wendy nodded. As confident as Justin felt, he was still bruising from the icy reception Cassidy, the new girl from New York City, had given to him when he came running up to her after English class last month. He was about to turn  away when Mr. LeFour caught his eye and motioned him over. “No escaping this one,” thought Justin.
“Justin, just the guy I was looking for,” said Mr. LeFour. Justin was perplexed. What had he done to call Mr. LeFour’s attention? 
“Sydney and I were just talking about you.” Now Justin was worried. “I read your file from your New York School. Saw that you were captain of the soccer team. Sydney has come to me with a proposal. You might find this interesting. She wants to start up a soccer team here at Willowside Middle School. I looked into the possibility as the Athletic Director and it turns out that the season starts right after Spring Break.”
“We need you, Justin,” said Sydney, looking him straight in the eye. At that moment Justin understood the powerhouse that was Sydney. He doubted there was anything she could not accomplish when she set her mind to it.  “You probably don’t know this about me, but I’ve played soccer all my life. I’m so bummed out that this school only has a basketball and baseball team. Please help us. Please?”
Justin simply nodded his head, flustered by the proposal. Of course he would play. Finally he was carving out his own place in this forsaken school. And it was alongside Sydney, of all people. He could hardly wait to tell Juli, Wendy and Tyrone. He was so excited that he left Mr. LeFour’s room without even talking to him about his math class. 
It wasn’t until the next day that Justin came to understand the complexities of his decision to lead the soccer team. He mistakenly thought that Mr. LeFour would be the coach. But how could he? Soccer season coincided with baseball. The only person left to coach was none other than Mr. Bott! 
“Not fair ... not fair ... not fair” mumbled Justin to himself as he dragged his feet across Mr. Bott’s lifeless classroom. The walls seemed little grayer, the shadows a little darker and the air a little stuffier. Mr. Bott drawled on about Pythagorean Theorem: a topic Justin had learned the year before in New York City. Justin was doodling in his notepad but soon grew bored even of that brainless activity. The only piece of good news was that today was the Friday afternoon before Spring Break. As he contemplated his fate, he traced his index finger in random circles and spirals on the desk. He lifted up his finger and noticed the tip was dirty. “These desks haven’t been cleaned in ages,” he thought. “I wonder just how many bacteria are swimming around this desk right now.” He felt somewhat nauseous, but nothing out of the ordinary for Mr. Bott’s math class.

Your Task:  Suppose the desk were clean. Say there are only 2 bacteria on the surface. The number of bacteria doubles every hour. Make a table and graph the results for n hours. How many bacteria do you predict will be  on Justin’s desk on Monday after Spring Break?

Willowside POW # 7: Is failure even an option?

There was just no way around it: Lynn was quiet. Introverted. Shy. Painfully introspective. That was one thing she shared in common with her mother: quiet solitude. She could spend an entire rainy Saturday in the house, hardly crossing a word or two with her mother, and still feel understood and accepted.  Her father, on the other hand, was a jolly, extroverted man who lit up every room he entered with infectious laughter and the ability to turn mundane stories into epic sagas. He loved his daughter, often including her in the stories he would tell, but he never did quite understand her quiet nature.

Since kindergarten Lynn’s teachers had invariably commented on her silent nature. They knew she was incredibly bright and attentive in class. Some teachers would practically beg her to speak up in class. In elementary school they would set goals for her: “Just raise your hand twice a day, that’s all, even if it’s to ask to go to the bathroom or something.” She would try to follow their goals for the first week or so, painful as it was, because she wanted to do well in school, make her father happy and change her reputation forever. But all it took was one or two days when the teacher forgot to call on her or a kid next to her would smirk at something she said and she would close back up into her shell.

Lynn’s saving grace, aside from her mother’s silent support, was that she was a superb student. She loved school, though few people actually knew this. She relished in the complex math problems that Mr. LeFour would give the class (between baseball stories). She devoted herself wholeheartedly to writing long, involved stories for Ms. E’s class (as long as she wasn’t asked to read or comment on them). And now she was discovering a passion for science, thanks, in no small part, to the patient attention of her science teacher, Mrs. Johnson.

“You know something, Lynn,” Mrs. Johnson had said to her in September, “I notice how deeply you understand the cell biology unit. Your report on mitosis was remarkable in its details and simple elegance.” Lynn wasn’t so sure what “simple elegance” meant in science, but she was excited by Mrs. Johnson’s feedback. Mrs. Johnson’s was the first teacher ever to NOT write a sentence or two of concern about Lynn’s quiet nature in class. Lynn devoted herself to maintaining Mrs. Johnson’s admiration for the rest of the year.

But that was easier said than done. Mrs. Johnson hadn’t really commented on Lynn’s work since September, other than to tell her she was doing “just fine”. So when Mrs. Johnson explained that this year’s Middle School Science Fair was going to focus on COLLABORATION, Lynn entered into a silent state of panic. Collaboration meant working together, in groups, perhaps even with people she had not choses. Lynn was convinced this was a disaster waiting to happen. She tried to talk to Mrs. Johnson about this, but the reply was something like “In the real world, Lynn, we don’t get to work alone. In fact, it’s not even an option in science, so why fake it here?” Lynn had no response to offer.

So it was that when partner work was assigned, Lynn found herself assigned to work with Peter. Peter was one of the “cool” kids in class. Great hair, fantastic clothes, cool sunglasses: Peter had it all going for him. To top it off, he was extroverted and funny to be around, not unlike Lynn’s father in that respect. So of all the kids that could have been her partner, Lynn found herself working with the one most unlike her in every way. At least that is what she thought.

Peter proposed to Lynn that they do an experiment with eggs because his parents raised chickens in their backyard and he could lots of eggs. Lynn remembered her fifth grade teacher putting an egg in vinegar for a long time and when he pulled it out, the shell was all rubbery and soft. Peter had another idea, “Let’s do an experiment on osmosis.” Lynn had no idea what he was talking about. Neither did Peter, it turned out, but he liked the word because “it sounded all scientific and stuff.” He immediately called out for Mrs. Johnson to come help them out. Lynn dreaded letting science teacher know that she didn’t have a clue what “osmosis” meant.

“That sounds like a great idea, but you two will have to investigate it a little more” responded Mrs. Johnson. She suggested they go do an Internet search on the topic to start off.

Lynn and Peter went over to the computer and searched for osmosis and eggs. They read through the results and Peter suggested the click on the link labeled Humpty Dumpty Takes Some Baths. This is what it said:

Humpty Dumpty Takes Some Baths
Assume you have one normal egg and three solutions: 100g pure water, 100g. pure corn syrup and 100g. salt water. The water and corn syrup are 100% pure, while the salt solution is 30%.
You first place your egg into the water solution and let it stay there for a while.
1. What happens to the mass of your egg?
You take the egg out of the water and place it in the corn syrup solution. Your corn syrup solution now weighs 140 grams?  
2. Explain why.
After a while, you take the egg out of the corn syrup solution and place it in the salt water solution. Your salt and H2O solution now weighs 110 grams. 
3. Explain why.
4. Based on this info, how can you determine the original weight of H2O of the egg?
5. How many grams of sugar and salt were in the original egg?

They read the problem together. Lynn thought she had a good idea how to solve this problem because it looked so much like the math problems Mr. LeFour would give them. Peter was less convinced he could actually solve this problem, but he trusted Lynn’s intuition on this one. They looked around some other Internet pages to figure out more about osmosis and eggs. There was a lot of information and Lynn was feeling pretty good not only about their initial foray into science fair collaboration, but also about how easy it was to talk with Peter.

However, as they began to work on the actual problem, Lynn realized that she was more confused than she thought about what to do. Sometimes the egg seemed to absorb the solution, making it heavier. Other times it would give off weight to the solution. They worked and worked on the problem, but Lynn had a sinking feeling that perhaps this was one of those “trick” problems that is actually unsolvable without more information. She started to worry about not only letting Mrs. Johnson down, but also Peter. She wasn’t sure which concerned her more.

Your Task: Based on your lab report about osmosis and eggs in your own science class, is Lynn correct that there is not enough information to solve this problem. If this is the case, what additional information is needed? If not, clearly explain to her how to go about understanding and solving this problem and help her and Peter win the Science Fair competition this year.

Willowside POW # 6: Where are the traffic jams when you need them?

“Here we go again” thought a morose Justin as he stepped out of his mother’s car onto the curb. Winter break was over, his trip back to New York a mere memory and his dread of stepping back into the Willowside social scene was almost too much to bear. He was still in Mr. Bott’s horrible math class (“We think it is best for you right now,” the school counselor had explained distractedly) and he hadn’t quite figured out how to fit in with the flannel shirt and baseball cap crowd that dominated this school. Talking about this to his parents was a lost cause: his father was rarely home anymore and his mother was either working or on the phone as she plopped down the next microwaved dinner for him in the evenings.
He looked around at the cliques of kids milling around the entrance of the school, excitedly jabbering about their winter breaks, their new jackets or other nonsensical mush. Most of them probably just stayed around the area during the break; hanging out at home, playing video games or calling each other on the phone. Few, if any, would have left the area, much less cross the country, as he had. Once again he felt out of place.
Justin saw Tyrone, Juli and Wendy over by Mrs. E’s classroom. He walked over towards them just as the bell rang. They were all in Mrs. E’s English class together. They waited for him to catch up, quickly said hi and then tucked in the door. Mrs. E, in her customary way, was not there yet. She always came in late, with stacks of papers under her arms and a huge, airy smile on her face. She was, in many ways, the opposite to Mr. Bott’s militancy. But that did not necessarily make her class any easier on Justin. He never knew what to expect from such a loosely organized teacher as Mrs. E. But even if she did confuse him, she never offended, which was a major relief.
“How was New York?” asked Juli as they sat down. 
“Great, snowy, but great...” Just then Mrs. E breezed into the room, laid down her stacks of papers, smiled broadly at the class, sighed, and said “Isn’t it great to be back, you guys.” General, good natured groaning filled the room. “I’m glad you’re back, Justin,” Juli whispered secretly. Justin smiled shyly.
“Welcome back to a bright new year,” continued Mrs. E. “I am so excited. Every year is a gift, you know. Remember that. Now, we have a new student, in case you hadn’t noticed. Her name is Cassidy and she comes to us from New York City, can you believe that?” Justin’s felt himself jerk to attention. Did she just say New York City? He looked over to see that, indeed, a new girl was sitting on the other side of the classroom. She had long, shiny black hair and a fancy pair of lavender tinged glasses. She looked calm, poised and above all, sophisticated. “I think it is so wonderful to get new students this time of year. It is a gift, you know. Remember that” Everything was a gift to Mrs. E. But this time, Justin agreed with her.
“Let’s do an activity to help us reconnect and bond with our peers, ok? After all, we are social animals. We need our peers and they need us. Cooperation is a gift. Remember that. Let’s work on that. I have this game called Traffic Jam. It’s played first in groups of 4, then groups of 6, then 8 and so on. There are five stepping stone in a row. On the two left-hand stones, facing the center, stand two people. Justin and Juli, why don’t you be those two people?” Justin knew Mrs. E would pick him. She always did for some reason. He and Juli walked up to the front of the class.
“On the two right-handed stones stand two other people. Let’s have Doni and Cassidy stand there, ok?” Suddenly Justin was much more interested in the outcome of this game. “The center stone is not occupied. The point of this game is that everyone on the left side must somehow move to the right side, and vice versa, with the center stone left unoccupied in the end. Here are some basic rules: after each move, each person must be standing on a stone. If you start on the left, you can only move towards the right. If you’re on the right, you can only move towards the left. You can leap frog a person if the stone on the other side is empty. You cannot jump over more than one person at a time. And finally, only one person may move at a time.”

“The winning team will show us how to change positions in the least number of moves. Then we’ll try it with 6 people and 7 stones (always the center stone unoccupied). This will be so much fun! Let’s start!”

Justin wasn’t sure how much fun the game was going to be, but he was sure interested in knowing more about Cassidy.

Your task: what are the minimum moves for 4, 6, 8 and 10 people games? Is there a pattern that helps?

Willowside POW # 5: Downhill All The Way

Mrs. Johnson loved being a science teacher at Willowside Middle School, even if it was all one huge accident.
She used to tell her friends that she did not choose teaching, but rather, teaching chose her. She had always been a great student in all her classes except math. Her English teachers throughout middle and high school raved about her poetry as well as her short stories. They would beg her to send them off for publication and would read them gushingly in class, often with tears in their eyes.
Her high school P.E. teachers would call her parents up each year insisting that she join the track and field team or the volleyball team. Her school, they said, needed her amazing speed and agility to push them over the top and guarantee them the championships. Her mother would nod patiently, always saying that she would talk to her later, but she never did. She knew that her daughter was far more interested in her science fair projects and would pay scant attention to the requirements of a sport team.
The only class that gave Mrs. Johnson any challenge at all was math. She studied carefully, did all her work and generally got good, if not excellent, grades. But deep down she felt insecure about her algebra skills and was quite lost in calculus, which was strange because as much as she would struggle with equations, she was completely able to use them deftly in physics.
Mrs. Johnson graduated from college with a degree in chemistry and every intention to continue on to graduate school. Then she spent a summer working as a summer school teacher in the high school near her university. The experience changed her forever. She found the challenge of explaining chemistry far more interesting that learning about it in school. At the end of the summer the principal approached her with the offer to teach at his suburban school the following year. Impulsively she accepted and 8 years later she was still at Willowside Middle School. 
The only real problem that Mrs. Johnson had was her commute. In an idea world, she would rather bike or walk to school. But in actuality, she lived in a city about 40 minutes drive over a small mountain range. She just could not bring herself to move to the Willowside area. So she made the trek early in the morning each weekday and came back late at night. She was starting to question the practicality of this and had secretly done some initial job searches in her area. She wasn’t prepared, though, to let Mr. Strehl, the Willowside principal, know about this. Not yet.
It was on wintery days like this one that Mrs. Johnson really hated the commute. It was dark and the pavement was alternately icy or wet. She drove patiently. There were two signs on the road that always confused her. The first was at the summit. It indicated that the road would be descending at a 6% grade for the next three miles. But after three miles another sign indicated that for the next 4 miles she would be descending at a 4% grade. At the end of those 4 miles, she would enter the Willowside area.  She obviously knew that the word “descend” meant “going down” and she vaguely remembered that this could be described as a percent, something like number of feet down for number of feet travelled forward. And while it was true that she had not “liked” math in school, she found it greatly important and useful as an adult. She started to wonder whether she could figure out just how high the mountain range was based on the the road signs and the fact that Willowside was 700 feet above sea level.

Your Task: Is it possible to determine the elevation of the summit? If so, what is it? If not, what is needed?

Willowside POW # 4: Justin Needs Out!

Justin sat in the back of Mr. Bott’s math class. He did not belong in the back of this room, in Mr. Bott’s class or even at Willowside Middle School. He was frustrated with this new school, with the kids and especially, with Mr. Bott.
Back at his old school in New York City, Justin had been known as a class star: great at math, soccer, art and even at singing. In fact, he had been key in helping the school form a choir with the music teacher. He was considering running for class president and was sure that he would win. He loved his school, his friends and the sense of control over his destiny. It all got messed up when his parents decided to move out to Willowside. Now he was far away from civilization, in the middle of nothing other than fruit trees and miles and miles of weeds. He knew he was no longer in NYC. when he came to school in a sports coat, like he did in his previous school, to the stares and snickers of the other kids. Thanks to a tip from Tyrone, the only kid who dared speak to him, he quickly stashed the coat into his locker and tried to fit in. Then he was told by the school secretary that he was to be placed into Mr. Bott’s math class because there was room for him there.
“But Mrs. Guzmán, Mr. Bott’s class is the remedial one. I was in advanced math in my other school: they sent the records. I don’t belong with those kids.” he said, pointing across the courtyard to Mr. Bott’s door. He saw Tyrone there and felt a little pang of guilt: he had not meant to include Tyrone with the “those kids” label.
“I know, dear. Your school hasn’t sent over the records yet and maybe it is for the best that you are not quite so challenged. After all, you are new here, you know?”
“Duh!” thought Justin to himself. Mrs. Guzmán turned at her desk, grabbed a sheet of paper and handed it to Justin. It was his class schedule. She had printed his name at the top and laminated it. “If this was a temporary schedule, why did she go through all the trouble make it look so permanent?” Justin took the schedule and walked across the courtyard. He got to the door just as Mr. Bott was closing it. The little window in the door was covered by black construction paper. Mr. Bott looked at him cautiously.
“You are new here.” Justin wondered why all the adults in Willowside felt the need to state the obvious. “Don’t tell me they assigned you to my class.” Mr. Bott looked visibly angry. “But I already have five kids over the standard student load.” He looked up to the sky in exasperation. Justin could think of a few choice words he would say in response to Mr. Bott’s rant, but he chose to stay quiet. It wasn’t like he wanted to be there either. 
“Well, come on, class is starting and you ARE late.” Justin moved past Mr. Bott and into the intense focus of all the kids. They were all sitting in rows of individual student desks. There were six rows, each with six desks. There was next to nothing on the wall. A few faded posters hung limply along the back of the room. No windows except for the covered up on on the door. In the front was an old chalkboard. Justin had only seen a real chalkboard in the movies. His L.A. school had either whiteboards or Smartboards. 
“Class, this is a new student to our class.” He turned to Justin. “What’s your name, by the way?” Justin told him, but Mr. Bott was rummaging through his desk drawer and pulled out a textbook. “Here is your math book, Jason.”
“Sir, my name is Justin”
“Yes, sorry, Justin.” Justin saw a line of spittle collect along the edges of Mr. Bott’s mouth. The spittle jumped up and down as Mr. Bott spoke.  
“Let’s see if you guys can impress me. Here is the math problem for the day.” Mr. Bott wrote the following problem on the chalkboard:  
  "On the first day, I will pay you $1,000 early in the morning. At the end of the day, you must pay me a commission of $100. At the end of the day, we will both determine your next day's salary and my commission. I will double what you have at the end of the day, but you must double the amount that you pay me. Will you work for me for a month?"
Justin realized then that he could get out of this class if he could just manage to “impress” Mr. Bott. 

Your Task: Work this problem out for Justin and impress Mr. Bott with your mathematical and logical insight.

POW #3: Wendy’s Pizza Fiasco

Wendy worried about many things, but the one thing she worried about most was letting down her family with her grades. Not that she ever gave them motive. To the contrary, Wendy probably never received a single grade less than an “A” at any time in her schooling. But that did stop her worrying. She knew better than anyone that her grades were a result of extremely hard work both in school and at home. Nothing came easy to her, like it seemed to for her older brother. He practically sailed through school with a grin and a sparkle in his eye and brought home straight “A” report cards. Somehow in Wendy’s mind, her straight A’s were either elusive or a sham in comparison.
Wendy did not just worry about her grades, though. She worried about practically anything she thought about. Doni, the school jerk, went around chanting “Wendy, Wendy Worry Wart” during recess in the 6th grade to humiliate her. “It worked because it’s true.” she thought. “I am a ridiculous worrier”. If she drank from the water fountain, she would worry either about germs, or contaminants or parasites that she had read about in the science book. So she brought her own bottled water to school, but then started worrying about the leeching plastic poisons she saw on the news. She promptly switched to a metal water bottle. She just could not understand how the other kids could drink the junk they did. But then again, the only thing that did not particularly worry Wendy was what her peers did. Except, that is,  for Tyrone.
Tyrone and Juli were Wendy’s only real friends at school. She had all her classes with Juli (the accelerated ones) and had know her practically all her life. When Tyrone came to their school in the 6th grade they soon became friends with him. Actually, Juli became his friend and Wendy tagged along, since they never really had classes together except for from P.E.. This year all three of them started hanging out at Tyrone’s house after school, working on homework and trying to get Tyrone to understand the bare minimum of Mr. Bott’s math class so he could pass (not an easy task). When Tyrone told them he would be running for Student Council VP, both Wendy and Juli devoted themselves to his campaign. Juli made the posters and Wendy went around school putting them up for him. 
Wendy started to worry about Tyrone. What if he lost? How about Doni, who was going around making fun of Tyrone’s campaign? And what of Juli, who seemed so devoted to Tyrone? Was Wendy out of the picture? She desperately wanted to impress Tyrone, almost more than she wanted to impress her father with A’s in Algebra.
And then Tyrone won! He was now Vice President of the Willowside Student Council and she was his friend. It was as if she herself had won the election, even if she would never have done so on her own.
One of the Student Council’s first act was to buy pizza for all the students who had involved themselves with the election process. They figured that two large pizzas would be enough. It was Tyrone’s responsibility as VP to place the order. The class president told him he should order a pepperoni and onion pizza as well as a green pepper, mushroom and salami pizza. Tyrone forgot to write this down (he never did write down the important stuff), but he was sure he would remember.
Two days later, he told Wendy that he needed help remembering just what specific pizza’s to order. “I never knew that being VP would be this hard, Wendy.” He told her that he was supposed to order a two ingredient and a three ingredient pizzas, but he couldn’t remember what types. He felt embarrassed to go back to the President and tell him he forgot the very first thing he was charged to do. So he begged Wendy for help.
Wendy was desperate to help Tyrone out. She called Pizzarama to find out what types of ingredients they had. Turned out  they only used five ingredients: pepperoni, salami, green pepper, mushroom and onion. “That’s so cheap,” thought Wendy, but it would make her task easier.
“What do we do now, Wendy?” asked Tyrone.
“Well, first I want to figure out how many different two and three ingredient pizzas are even possible at this joint. Then, we can figure out the probabilities you might actually just get it right by ordering random two and three ingredient pizzas. Who knows, maybe we don’t have to worry too much about this.” 

Your Task: Figure out how many possible 2 and 3 ingredient pizzas there are. What is the probability they will get a random order correct? Compare the the possibilities of the two pizzas. What do you notice and why?

Willowside POW # 1: Tyrone

The yellow school bus pulled up to Willowside Middle School,  opened its accordion door, and dispersed a long line of students. Tyrone carefully maneuvered out of the crowd and knelt down 
alongside the wall. He burrowed into his backpack, looking for the campaign posters he had carefully made the night before. He pulled out a stack of flyer and some tape and started posting them on a 

“Vote for Tyrone and you won’t be alone!” the slogan said under a  picture of him with friends. Then he saw Doni approaching. 

“Let’s see, let’s see, what’s this? Tyrone for VP? And your slogan?” He read it out loud. “I don’t know...not catchy at all. How about: Let it be known that a vote for Tyrone will only make you moan and groan?” Doni laughed while Tyrone gathered up his stuff.

“Funny, Doni, real funny” he muttered as he meandered towards his locker. Talk about moaning: he could see Mr Bott  moving determinedly from the office towards his class with a huge stack of papers: last week’s math test. He noticed a new kid dressed in a button down shirt and sport jacket. “Uh oh, that guy’s going to have trouble with that outfit,” he thought. He decided to help out. He walked up to him, holding out his hand just like a V.P. candidate. “Hi, I’m Tyrone. What’s your name?” 

The boy took his hand, looking somewhat awkward, and said, “Justin, my name is Justin. I’m new here, in from New York. I’m in 7th grade. How about you?” 

“7th, too. Hey, I’m running for VP, hope you’ll vote for me,” he blurted out in his usual manner. 

“Sure, I guess so...why not? Tyrone, was it?” Tyrone nodded. Then he was pushed from behind. He turned to see his best friend, Juli, giggling from behind her glasses.

“Hey Ty, who’s the new kid?” Tyrone introduced Justin to her. “Nice clothes, Justin”

“Yeah, well thanks, though I do stick out, I guess.” Tyrone wanted to say something, but Justin cut him off. “Listen, I could really use some help getting to know people here. Can you help?” 

Sure,” said Juli, mischievously. Tyrone groaned. Juli, the math wiz, was at it again. 

“Look, Justin, some of main characters you’ll need to know early on all live around the school and don’t take the bus like we do. We call it the “Country Club”, kind of snobby kids around here, if you ask me, but heck, they run the school...So, let me think....hmmm...Oh, I’ve got a great idea. How about I make up a puzzle that tells you about some of 
these people?” 

“Well....” Justin started to protest and Tyrone wanted to intervene, but when Juli is on a roll, forget it. 

“So here’s the deal, Justin. Five kids live in those 5 fancy track homes you see all in a row across the street,” she said, pointing. “I’ll give you some clues now: Bee live in the red one; Lynn owns a dog; Wendy drinks water; Red Bull is drunk in the green house; Love Ballads are the preferred music in the yellow house; o.j. is drunk in the middle house; Tyrone lives in the first house, which is next to the blue house; Doni listens to rock music but the green tea drinker listens to instrumental music. The person who listens to Disco Music is next door neighbors with the gecko owner. The hamster owner hates Love Ballads, but the person next door neighbor adores them. The Bluegrass fan owns a gnarly 
praying mantis. Finally, as you can see, the green house is to the right of the ivory one. 

So tell me, Justin, after all that, who drinks milk and who own a cat? 

Your task: Name the people, the color of their houses, their pets and their preferred drink and music.