Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Pi Day Challenge

[ Editor's Note: Alex Cook is involved in a "Pi Day Challenge" that involves solving 28 puzzles. Alex sent me the following email which I'm forwarding for your enjoyment. Yes, Pi Day was Sunday but the festivities continue! ]

Hello Fellow Math Enthusiasts!

My name is Alex Cook, and I want to let you know about a project I am working on called the Pi Day Challenge.

First off, this project is not exactly my project - it is a project of Matthew Plummer's, a high school teacher from Hanover, MA - I am helping with some of the logistics!

Starting in 2003, Matthew Plummer started creating "Puzzles" on the computer for students. The puzzles were math and logic based. These puzzles were compiled together, put on his school's web site (hanoverschools.org), and then launched on Pi Day (March 14th). The objective was to go through each of the puzzles and make it to the end.


MMM #24: Rock Band Madness at Blinkdagger

MMM #24 is available now at Blinkdagger. Here's the problem:

The Problem Statement

The five songs that the blinkdagger band (Rob, Zane, Daniel, and Quan) can complete on expert are:

  1. Oasis - Wonderwall
  2. Dashboard Confessional - Hands Down
  3. Bon Jovi - Livin’ on a Prayer
  4. Wheezer - Say It Ain’t So
  5. Journey - Any Way You Want It

Assume the following:

  • The blinkdagger band only has time to play 8 songs before they have to start working on MATLAB tutorials.
  • For each of the 8 songs, the blinkdagger band randomly chooses to play a song from the 5 listed above.
  • All 5 songs have an equal chance of being picked.

Question: What is the % chance that the band will have played all five songs after their session ends?

Go to Blinkdagger for the contest rules and submission instructions.

Filed under: Math contest 1 Comment

Math contest at MathNotations

Dave Marain at MathNotations asked me to spread the word about a contest he's running and I'm happy to oblige.

Here's a piece of the email Dave sent me:

I'm running a math contest for HS and MS students on Tue Feb 3rd. I've announced it online and have gotten a few replies but I'd like to reach a larger audience. If you could mention it on your widely read blog, I would appreciate it. Here's the link giving all the info: http://mathnotations.blogspot.com/2009/01/first-mathnotations-math-contest.html


MMM #15: We have a winner!

Richard Berlin, who has been participating in Monday Math Madness! for quite a while, was picked as the winner for this contest by Random.org. Congratulations, Richard! I'll be sending you your prize so send me your address. Stand by for another Monday Math Madness on Monday at Blinkdagger.


Monday Math Madness #13 – Awesome TI calculator giveaway

TI gives away cool calculator

Blinkdagger and Wild About Math! are really stirring things up for Monday Math Madness (MMM) contests #13 and 14. And, Texas Instruments is giving away a VERY cool calculator (keep reading for more about the calculator), they'll ship it internationally, plus we'll allow anyone to win - even if you've won a prize in the MMM contest before. So, we expect submissions from everyone on the planet!

What's different about the next two contests?

So, what are we doing differently? Well, we're going to ask you guys and gals to submit your favorite MMM-caliber problems. That's what you have to do be eligible to win MMM #13. We'll pick the one we like best and then use it for MMM #14.

  • If you submit the problem we pick for MMM #13 then you get one of the awesome calculators.
  • If you solve the problem we announce in MMM #14 then you get an awesome calculator.

Monday Math Madness #9

Monday Math Madness

Last Friday Blinkdagger announced a winner for MMM #8. Here's MMM #9:

Consider all of the 6-digit numbers that one can construct using each of the digits between 1 and 6 inclusively exactly one time each. 123456 is such a number as is 346125. 112345 is not such a number since 1 is repeated and 6 is not used.

How many of these 6-digit numbers are divisible by 8?

While you may use a computer program to verify your answer, show how to solve the problem without use of a computer.


Monday Math Madness #7: We have a winner

We have a winner for this seventh contest. Congratulations, Brent Yorgey! I'm delighted that Brent, of Math Less Traveled, won this one because Brent gives so much to students and readers of his blog. Brent - Enjoy your $25 gift certificate from our kind sponsor for this contest, the Art of Problem Solving.

Click here to see Brent's solution, two of them actually.


Monday Math Madness #7

Monday Math Madness

It's time for Monday Math Madness #7. I love infinite series and I found today's infinite series problem on the web. This is one of the most interesting of these kinds of problems I have run into. It's challenging but not brutally difficult, so give it a try. I won't reveal the source until the contest ends because the answer is posted with the problem.

Thanks to the sponsors for this contest, I have one $25 gift certificate left for the Art of Problem Solving. I also have a couple of Rubik's Revolutions, courtesy of Techno Source. Depending on how many correct solutions I get I may give away two prizes.


Janet’s solution to Monday Math Madness #5

As promised, here is Janet's solution to Monday Math Madness #5.

Aside from 1 and 9, are there any perfect squares whose digits are all odd? Justify your answer.


All perfect squares two digits and larger have at least one even digit.


Warmup problems for Monday Math Madness #7

Blinkdagger has announced the winners for contest #6. A little later today I'll be posting contest #7.

In the meantime, here are a couple of warmup problems:

1. If a fish weighs one pound plus half its own weight, how much does the fish weigh? Do this problem quickly and without paper. I bet many of you won't get it right the first time. It's not a hard problem but it is tricky if you're not paying attention. Try this problem out on your friends.

2. What is interesting about each of the following pairs of numbers: (2,2) and (5/2, 5/3)?

Stay tuned for Monday Math Madness #7, later today. It's an interesting infinite series problem.