other contests 
back to main contest page 
Winners of the December 2003 Math Cats Writing Contest: 
The contest rules were: __________
Have you ever done some mental math outside of school? Maybe you were trying to add up the cost of a few things in a store, or doubling the ingredients to make a bigger recipe, or sharing some treats with your friends, or figuring out how many days until your next birthday, or using the scale of miles on a map when your family was driving somewhere far away, or trying to predict how many steps or how many minutes it might take to walk to your friend's house... Well, in this contest, we'd like you to tell us about a time when you used mental math (in your head, not on paper) in the "real world." You can write it like a story (with dialogue and details), or you can write a simple explanation. We like entries that are clear, wellwritten, and lively. In any case, we'd like to know exactly how you tried to figure things out in your head. (And did it work??) Did you need an exact answer or was an estimate good enough?
First Place  "Christmas Cookies"  by Sarah Kunetz
Who judged the contest? * First Place:
Christmas Cookies
Christmas is coming and that is what made me think of this yummy mental math. Last year, my mom and I were baking cookies in the kitchen. We needed to make three batches of cookies. One for my mammam and pappap, one for my nana and poppop,and one for my house. * Second Place:
Coming Home!
My sister and I were drawing pictures and we were wondering how long until our sister Storm would come home from Michigan. * Third Place:
While I Was in the Store
One day, I was thinking to myself while I was in the grocery store with my mom. Then my mother picked some bread and it cost $1.00. Then she bought a girl and a boy toy that cost 14.00 each. * Fourth Place:
Estimating the Party
My mom said there was going to be a party! * Fifth Place:
Sleepy Time
Once I woke up in the middle of the night and I wanted to know how long it was until I had to get up. I had to get up at 6:30. It was 3:40. I knew 3 + 3 = 6, but I had to factor the minutes in too. I rounded 40 to 60 so it would be 2 hours and 30 minutes with rounding, plus the minutes it would be 2 hours and 50 before I woke up. I did not need a exact answer, I just wanted a picture about it. My estimating was correct! I was glad for that 2 hours and 50 minutes extra sleep! * Sixth Place:
Shopping with Mummy!
One day, me and mummy went shopping. _______________ * Other Finalists
Birthday Cake I have 14 guinea pigs at home and I had to sort them into cages. We had 2 cages but I had the problem of boys and girls. I have 4 boys and 10 girls. I thought that I needed another cage so I got another one and I had to decide which girls to go in which cage so I decided to half them 5 in each. That solved all my problems!!!
At the Store When I used mental math it was when I had 10 dollars and I was at the store. I was wondering how much I could buy. I saw a capgun for $1.00 and a book for $1.00 so that was $2.00. I now had $8.00 left. Then I was walking around and bought three packs of gum for 50 cents each. Then I went and bought a drink for 50 cents. I said to myself, if this is $2.00 I can buy 6 bottles of 7up for $1.00 each. So then that was ten dollars. That was when I used mental math.
Christmas HMMM, It is the 11th of December, and 25  11 = 14 .................. 2 more weeks till Christmas!!!!
Guinea Pigs I have 14 guinea pigs at home and I had to sort them into cages. We had 2 cages but I had the problem of boys and girls. I have 4 boys and 10 girls. I thought that I needed another cage so I got another one and I had to decide which girls to go in which cage so I decided to half them 5 in each. That solved all my problems!!!
At the Card Store On Saturday when I went to the card store, I bought two packs of pokemon cards and I was thinking to myself, if I have 10 dollars and the packs are 3 dollars each, about how many more packs could I buy? About 1 more pack I could have bought.
Cartoons Meet Mental Math The time I used mental math was when I wanted to know when my favorite show was coming on. It was 2:30 and my show comes on at 4:30. I had to use mental math to see how many shows would come between the show that I was watching and the show I wanted to see. And that was the time I used mental math.
Prehistoric Planet
On Monday I was trying to figure out how long do I have to wait until they give Prehistoric Planet on TV at 7:30. So since I have Direct TV I checked the guide and it was 4:30. So then I turned over to 7:30 PM and I used mental math to figure out how much time was it going to take me to watch Prehistoric Planet on the Discovery Kids Channel. It took three hours until they gave Prehistoric Planet. I usually watch Prehistoric Planet every day but I didn't really think about how long I have to wait to watch Prehistoric Planet. * Who judged the contest?
* Evan Hiller of New Jersey, age 10 * Prizes
The first place prize is a Math Cats Tshirt. The first through sixth place entries receive special large Math Cats certificates, and the other finalist entries receive a smaller certificate. * We're helping a special friend of Math Cats, too! Wendy of Math Cats has made a donation to the IFOPA in honor of the kids who wrote the top three entries and in honor of Jasmin Floyd, a young friend of Math Cats. You can learn about this worthy cause on the main contest page.

back to the main contest page 
© copyright 2003  by Wendy Petti of Math Cats. All Rights Reserved. 