Eighth Grader Represents US State Department at MATHCOUNTS Competition

Eighth-grader Rei recently earned the honor of being one of four students to represent the US State Department at the MATHCOUNTS National mathematics competition.

How fast can you answer the following two questions? (calculator permitted)
-A set of five distinct prime numbers has a mean of 10 and a median of seven. What is the greatest possible number in this set?
-There are a hundred competitors at the National Debating Contest, two from each of the 50 US states. In how many ways can five finalists be chosen if no state may have more than one finalist?

Can you get them both right in less than six minutes? (See the answers at the end of the article.)

Rei (grade 8) had to answer those and many other questions that push thinking and skill levels in mathematics at the US National Math Counts competition in Orlando, Florida. The competition was held on May 13-15. Rei was rank 92nd out of the 224 students at the competition, chosen out of the over 250,000 students who participate in the competition series each year.

The MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is a US national program that provides students the opportunity to compete against their peers in challenging mathematics. It is open to all sixth through eighth-grade students in the US. ASIJ participates as a member of the US State Department schools. Each year, four students are chosen through their results on preliminary rounds to represent the State Department in an all expenses paid trip to the national competition. They compete against the 56 teams from each state and US territory as well as the Department of Defense schools.

This year’s team included Rei, and a student each from Hong Kong International School, Singapore American School and Warsaw American School. The State department team placed 29th against teams that have been able to meet and train together for months. This is a respectable position for a team that met for the first time less than 24 hours before the competition began.

The team coach is chosen from the top scoring international school team. This year, ASIJ’s team came in first in the preliminary rounds. So, middle school teacher, Cathy Berghahn was selected to coach the State Department team, based on our top competition team of Rei, Anirudh Kumar (grade 8), Yamato Okura (grade 7), and Kunaal Chandrashekar (grade 6). Other students who have been competing for ASIJ this year include eighth-graders Shin Ota, and Liam Kell, seventh-graders Matthew Kaung, Shiori Harima and Joey Matsunaga as well as sixth-graders Wesley Maa, Yuta Hata, Koei Nakamura, Takumi Harima and Annmarie Hashimoto. Each year our team strengthens as more students get involved and take the math challenge. Middle school teacher Jessica Gould also helped coach our school team.

We are very proud of Rei and his accomplishments. He continues to shine in mathematics competitions and applies his talents to build a deep understanding of complex math. Congratulations Rei! Thank you to all our mathletes for helping us get Rei to the competition. It takes a team.

So, do you think you have the answers? Did you get 23 for the first one? And 67,800,320 ways for the second? If not, ask a mathlete how to solve it.