Lake Zurich High School has some of the best high-school mathematicians in the country, as demonstrated by their eighth-place finish in the 2013 Collaborative Problem-Solving Contest, a national mathematics contest administered by National Assessment & Testing.
While most math competitions encourage rote memorization, familiar problems, and quick mental reflexes, the CPSC presents schools with 15 unique, intricate problems to be solved over the course of a week. Under the guidance of coaches Laurel Carver and Jennifer Ventrelle, students worked together using brainstorming, collaboration, research, and technology to solve the problems, gaining experience with skills that will be critical in college and their careers.
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The 2013 Collaborative Problem-Solving Contest included creative problems accessible to students of all abilities, such as one asking teams to decrypt the titles of fictional technical books (e.g. "Tessellations: Art vs. Science") based on the artwork on their covers. Puzzle-style problems asked students to explore the relationships between items; one such problem asked students to determine the answers to a multiple-choice test in which the questions were asking about the answers to other questions (for example, "A. What is the answer to Part G? a) a, b) d, c) c, d) b"). The pure math problems on the test often started out simply, but progressed to some very difficult conclusions. One of these problems involved finding sets of two-digit numbers. The first part simply asked how many numbers might be in such a set if each digit 0-9 were to be used exactly once in the set, with the answer being 81; of the 90 two-digit numbers, only those that are multiples of 11 cannot be in such a set. The last part asked for the smallest number that could be divided by nine two-digit integers that started with nine different digits and shared no two-digit common factors; the answer turned out to be 498960, which is the least common multiple of 16, 20, 35, 45, 56, 63, 72, 81, and 99. There was also a single open-ended problem that asked teams to design their ideal elementary math competition.
National Assessment & Testing administers high-quality mathematics competitions throughout the year that high schools can participate in through the mail. Their contests cover a variety of formats, including individual and team tests, as well as a variety of difficulties, from an easier 100-problems-in-30-minutes test to this more complicated 15-problems-in-one-week test. To learn more about their contests, contact Tom Clymer at (206) 650-6411 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit [URL]www.natassessment.com;http://www.natassessment.com[URL].[/URL]