McLean Mathletes make us Proud

Sahana Talwar

On Saturday April 30, five McLean students set out on a quest to solve problems. They weren’t just any problems though; they were math problems.

Every year FWISD holds a problem solving competition. Each 6th grade school and middle school sends a team of four students and up to two alternates to compete.

The competition consists of five twenty-minute-long events: The 24 game, Tangrams, Can’t Stop, Cross Math Puzzles, and Problem solving.

The students, Hailey Lopez, Reece Teis, Zachary Cocanower, Sahana Talwar, and Gopika Siram arrived at the Teaching and Learning Center at about 8:00 – 8:15. Their chaperone was Ms. Kurz.

After Ms. Kurz signed them in, they entered the room where they would be competing. The room was split into two sections: Division 1, the 6th graders, and Division 2, the 7th and 8th graders.

First everyone said the pledge of allegiance. The flags were projected onto screens all around the room, and of course, it wouldn’t be a FWISD event without the video pausing for a second. Then, all the alternates left to play a game in a separate room. Our alternate was Gopika. To everyone’s surprise, the parents were also called out of the room to do math puzzles in a separate room.

It didn’t take too long for the first game, the 24 game to begin.

The 24 game is a game in which you are given four numbers and have to use each of those numbers once, along with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, to make the number 24.

Each side of the table was given a packet. Reece and Zachary worked together while Hailey and Sahana worked on the opposite side of the table. During the twenty minutes, Zachary’s pencil broke, and he had to dictate his answers to Reece who wrote them down. Despite the setback, the team felt that they had done a decent job.

The next game was Tangrams.

Tangrams is a game where you are given seven tiles that you have to arrange in a specific shape.

The team wasn’t feeling too confident with this game since it was the one game they had been unable to practice. Even so, they gave it their all. Near the end of the twenty minutes, Reece realized that he was missing a piece from his tangram set. That coupled with the shapes not being to size and the lack of practice meant that the team entered only a few answers.

During the break between games, a photographer decided he wanted some pictures of the team. He took their picture in front of a giant FWISD sign and then another of them in front of a sign full of math equations.

After having a break to prepare themselves for the next round, the team was ready for the next event: Can’t Stop.

Can’t stop is a game where you are given six dice which you have to roll. A one dot is worth 100 points, a five dot is worth 50 points, three of the same number of dots is that number times one-hundred, and three one dots is 1000 points. If a dice earns points, it can no longer be rolled. If you roll and no dice provide points, you earn zero points. You must earn at least 300 points before your score can be counted.

The team tried to go as fast as they could, but it was hard because someone also had to keep score. After a very stressful round of dice rolling and score keeping, the team was glad to have another short break.

The 4th game was Math Cross puzzles.

Math cross puzzles are kind of like Sudoku. You use the numbers 1 – 9 to fill in a square of math equations.

Once again, each side of the table received their packets. While the math puzzles were a lot of trial and error, the team managed to complete a total of six.

Then, it was time for the final game, problem solving.

Problem solving is just like it sounds, solving problems. You have to fill out boxes for important information, coming up with a plan, actually solving it, and checking it.

It started off slow, but the team managed to solve quite a few of the problems even with the amount of writing required to solve them.

Then it was time for lunch. After more than three hours of math, the team was glad to finally eat.

After the pizza, it was time to announce the winners.

First, all the division 1 awards were called. McLean sixth placed in every section and took home first place for the entire division 1 competition!

Then, the division 2 results were announced. The team won 2nd place for the 24 game and 1st place for problem solving!

The team was happy with their results, and they can’t wait to keep doing math.