Paul Cuffee Middle School Students Compete in State-wide MATHCOUNTS Competition


PCS Middle School students at this year’s Rhode Island MATHCOUNTS competition held at CCRI.

With coaching and support from Ben Hall, the middle school math specialist, nine Paul Cuffee Middle School students participated in the annual Rhode Island MATHCOUNTS competition at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick on Saturday, March 5. MATHCOUNTS is a national middle school math competition, with a total of about 140,000 students from all 50 states taking part each year. The competition consists of three rounds, two individual rounds and one team round. These problems are difficult: as a point of reference, just 9 of the 189 participants at the Rhode Island competition got more than 40% of the first round’s problems correct.

Most of the students on Paul Cuffee School’s team have been working on these types of problems in their math extensions class throughout this year. In addition, the team members attended several practices after school in the weeks preceding the competition. Cuffee’s official team, made up of Vanessa Oseghale, Jose Pagan, Amelia Sereby, and Eliana Waldmanwerth, started strong in the sprint and target rounds, with an average score of 10 points, keeping them very much in the running for a top 5 finish. The team round proved to be their undoing, but on the strength of the first two rounds the team finished 13th in the state. Five other students competed admirably as individuals: eighth graders Matt Perea, Ayanna Rowe, and Jonathan Suchite and seventh graders Zoe Cute and Joseph Malik. The students worked hard to challenge themselves and enjoyed both the preparation and competition, and the seventh graders are looking forward to doing even better next year.

It’s not as easy as it looks: try this brain teaser yourself!

A building constructed in January of the year 2000 will celebrate its 1-month anniversary in February of 2000 and its 12-month anniversary in January of 2001. If during the year n, this building will celebrate its n month anniversary, what is the value of n?

View Answer & Rationale

n = 2181


January 2001 will be its 12 month anniversary, so we can say that January 2010 (10 years from when the building was built) will be its 120-month anniversary (10 years*12 months/year=120 months). We’re trying to get the month (120) anniversary to be equal to the year (2010), so we still have a long way to go. If we skip ahead to 100 years later (January 2100), it will be celebrating its 1200-month anniversary (100*12=1200). If we double that (the year 2200) we’ll have gone too far (that would be its 2400 month anniversary). So let’s try 80 years after 2100: 2180. That will be its 2160 month anniversary (180*12=2160). We’re pretty close now, so let’s add two years. In January of 2182, it will celebrate its 2184-month anniversary. So we just need to walk it back a few months: December 2181 would be the 2183-month anniversary, November 2181 would be the 2182-month anniversary, and October 2181 would be the 2181-month anniversary



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