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IT'S FCAT SEASON

FCAT season begins in earnest Monday when more than 1-million Florida public school children begin taking the high-stakes test. On Page 1B, we explain a bit more about the exam and offer you a chance to try your hand at questions from past tests. Here's a paraphrase of one that a 10th-grader was expected to answer:

This drawing shows the dimensions of an empty sand hopper at a construction site. What volume of sand, in cubic feet, would fill it?

Answer: Before you tear out your hair, be aware that the front of the FCAT booklet offers various formulas, so the student needn't memorize the ones for volume. Now on to the solution. Treat the right cylinder and the right cone as separate entities and add their volumes at the end.

The volume of a right cylinder is pi x radius squared x height.

Pi approximately equals 3.14.

So 3.14 x 10 squared x 12 = 3,768 cubic feet.

The volume of a right circular cone is 1/3 x pi x radius squared x height.

So 1/3 x 3.14 x 10 squared x 15 = 1,570 cubic feet.

Now add the two volumes to get the final result of 5,338 cubic feet.

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