AoPS Update: News from National MATHCOUNTS, San Diego Math Field Day, Beast Academy in Mankato Public Schools, and more

May 22, 2019

National MATHCOUNTS 2019

Earlier this month, 220 middle school students from all over the US gathered in Orlando, Florida, to put their math skills to the test. AoPS CEO Richard Rusczyk and CFO Dr. Dave Patrick were there, too—Richard even got to give a talk called “Life after MATHCOUNTS”!

Richard Rusczyk speaking at MATHCOUNTS 2019

And last Monday, the rest of us at AoPS Headquarters in San Diego got to work early to watch the live webcast of the National Countdown Round from the office conference room. (If you have an ESPN subscription, you can watch it here.) And boy, did we have fun! Besides enjoying donuts and coffee, we got to see some extremely impressive question-answering from top Mathletes.

Massachusetts eighth-grader Daniel Mai won the title of 2019 MATHCOUNTS National Champion by answering the question “What is the quotient of 5,040 divided by the product of its unique prime factors?” in only 22.53 seconds. (Want to try to figure it out yourself? Scroll down to the bottom of this article to check your answer.) Daniel and his Massachusetts teammates Kaylee Ji, Huaye Lin, and Max Xu were also named First Place Team. Congratulations to all the students, parents, and coaches who participated in MATHCOUNTS this year!

Closer to Home: San Diego Math Field Day

This Saturday marked the 50th Annual San Diego Math Field Day, a team math event for sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth graders from more than twenty schools throughout San Diego County. Like many math contests inspired by the American Regions Mathematics League, SDMFD gives its events wacky names (see below for more about ARML). These fun names include ‘Mad Hatter’ (where contestants do mental math and then write down their answers as fast as possible), and ‘Tea Party Relay’ (where the answer to the first teammate’s problem becomes the starting point of the second teammate’s problem, and so on).

Math events like SDMFD are a great way for students to have fun with mathematics in a light-hearted, social setting!

Even More Math Contests

Last week, seventh and eighth graders from 80 countries around the world flexed their math muscles and tickled their brains with the Gauss Contest, a math competition sponsored by the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing at Canada’s University of Waterloo. CEMC runs a bunch of contests for students in grades 7–12 which are designed to “inspire the next generation of students to develop an interest and love for mathematics and computer science.” Learn more about the CEMC’s contests here.

On May 31 and June 1, more than 120 15-person teams of high school students will be gathering for the 44th Annual ARML Competition. They’ll be competing at four sites across the US: Penn State in the Northeast, the University of Georgia in the Southeast, the University of Iowa in the Midwest, and UNLV in the West. ARML lets students who enjoy math get together, build friendships, and solve problems competitively.

Click here to learn how to get involved with ARML.

Minnesota Math Beasts

Minnesota’s Mankato Area Public Schools has been using Beast Academy as math enrichment in their Rising Scholars program since 2016. Since then, we’ve been hearing regularly from MAPS Math Coach Kari Pratt about how BA is helping Mankato students think deeply, explore new ideas, and figure out how to solve math problems they’ve never seen before.

This week, Kari is headed to San Diego to tell us more about MAPS’s thriving Beast Academy program. We’re excited to hear how BA works for Mankato’s students and teachers!

Academies Now Accepting Fall Enrollments

Do you live near one of our AoPS Academies? If you’re looking for excellent after-school and weekend enrichment options for your students, we’ve just started accepting enrollments for Academic Year 2019–2020 at the following locations:

We’ve got offerings in math and language arts for students from Grade 2 through Grade 12. Our most popular classes fill very fast, so sign up today!

Curious about Self-Paced Prealgebra 1?

A brand new class will be starting next month at AoPS Online—a self-paced version of our bestselling Prealgebra 1 course. Students who take Self-Paced Prealgebra 1 will have 9 months to complete the course, which is a much more flexible pace than the 16 weeks of our Weekly Live Prealgebra 1. Both courses cover the first half of our Prealgebra textbook.

If you’d like to learn more about Self-Paced Prealgebra, we’d love to tell you more about it! We’ll be having a Math Jam on Tuesday, May 28 to cover all the questions you might have about this course before class access opens on June 4.

Are You Sure You Want the Answer?

You could solve this by writing out a factor tree to try to find the prime factorization of \(5{,}040\), but with only 45 seconds, that’s going to be tough! Instead, Daniel probably noticed that \(5{,}040 = 7!\), so \[ 5{,}040 = 7 \times 6 \times 5 \times 4 \times 3 \times 2 \times 1.\] The primes that divide this are exactly \(2, 3, 5,\) and \(7.\) When we divide by those, we’re left with just \(6 \times 4 = \fbox{24}.\)

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