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of the
February 2004
Math Cats
Writing Contest:

The contest rules were:

What does it mean to "tell a math story"? Math Cats already has plenty of simple math story problems; this contest is something different. We are looking for a story that is longer and more interesting than a word problem, but which involves solving at least one math problem. Here are some guidelines:

1) We're looking for some interesting math!!! There can be one problem or many problems, but at least one of the problems in the story should involve two or more steps.

2) We're looking for interesting stories!!! We like:
* characters who talk to each other
* descriptions and details
* interesting word choices
* humor

3) Your story can be based on a familiar story (such as a folk tale, fairy tale, myth, legend, or fable) or it can be completely original. If it is based on a familiar story, please tell us this, for instance: This story is based on "Jack and the Beanstalk."

4) The story must be in your own words!!!!

5) Please provide the answers to all of the math problems in your story. If the math is too hard for you, then at least try to show us how to set up the problem, such as:
68 x 95 = ??? and then subtract 297 from that amount


First Place - "Adventures in Math Zone" - by Tiffany T.
Second Place - "How to Count to 1,000" - by Mindy M.
Third Place - "The Mystery of the Missing Calculator" - by Madeline Pilato

We're helping a special friend of Math Cats, too!

* First Place:

Adventures in Math Zone
by Tiffany T.
age 12, grade 6, Stover School, Ms. Buck's class
Stover, Missouri, U.S.

     Once a long time ago, there was a pretty girl. She was smart, funny, sweet, and one of those people who succeed in everything they do. Her name was Mathmazia. We'll call her MZ. Now, MZ was very special, but there was one problem, and the problem was that, other than adding and subtracting, she didn't know how to do any other kind of math. MZ just couldn't figure it out. When her tutor (We'll call her Tutor Z) stopped by MZ's castle, he tried to teach MZ how to multiply and divide but she didn't get a thing out of it. And then Tutor Z always asked MZ, "There Princess Mathmazia, haven't you learned so much more?"
     And Princess MZ would always reply, "No, I haven't learned a thing, all thou hast done is waste mine time."
     And Tutor Z would say then, "Soon, thy Princess thou shalt feel thy bite of not knowing thy math."
     And Princess MZ would say, "Your continuous ramblings don't seem to do a thing for thine math."
     One day, Princess MZ was taking a lesiurely stroll through the woods, when she came upon a rather large hole.
     "Where doth this hole come from?" Princess MZ asked herself. She leaned over the hole to get a better look when... She fell down into the hole. When she woke up she found she had awakened in a very strange place.
     "Where hadth I fallen to?" Princess MZ cried.
     "Who art thou?" a lady (We'll call her Lady Q) asked.
     "Mine name ith Princess Mathmazia."
     "You, girl, art in thy Math Zone. How much math do thou know?"
     "I knowst of very little... My tutor's endless ramblings have done nothing for me."
     "Multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction?" Lady Q inquired.
     "Addition, subtraction," Princess MZ said.
     "15 + 24 = ?" Lady Q asked.
     "39," MZ said.
     "125 + 122 = ?"
     "347," MZ said.
     "Good, 347 - 221 = ?"
     "126," MZ said.
     "12 x 2 = ?"
     "I dost not know that."
     "Hmm... Let's say thou weret trapped on an island with nothing to eat but fish. If thou ate 2 fish a day and thou were trapped there for 30 days... How many fish did thou need to catch to stay alive?" Lady Q asked.
     "60," MZ said.
     "How did thou get the answer to that one?" Lady Q asked.
     "I doth added them," MZ replied.
     "Try doing this... Take
x2 and take the 0 and drop thy number
  0 and then take the 3 and take it by 2, getting

60 fish
See?" Lady Q said.
     "I dosth understand thy problem!!!" MZ cried.
     "Good. Now 122 x 2 = ?"
     "Um. Let's see, 244."
     "Right. "
     "Wow. Why don't you be my tutor?"
     "Princess Mathmazia?? Wake up!" A voice said.
     MZ jolted awake. Tutor Z was sitting at the table.
     "Let's see if thou has learned anything. 55 x 2 = ?" Tutor Z asked.
     "Easy. 110," MZ said.
     "You learned multiplication! Oh, Joy!!" Tutor Z was happy.
     MZ was wondering when she would learn more.
     Little did she know that her new tutor had lots for her to learn that night.

* Second Place:

How to Count to 1,000
by Mindy M.
age 11, grade 5, Oak Point School, Mrs. Wavinak's class
Eden Pairie, Minnesota, U.S.

     Once upon a time there was a beautiful kitten named Kristine who wondered how long it would take to count to 1,000. She tried again and again but it never actually worked to count up to 1,000. She always got messed up.
     So she tried to do it mathematically. She first figured out how many seconds it would take to count a number in the 1's, 10's, and 100's. She figured out it would take 1 second to count the 1's and 10's and it would take 2 seconds to count the 100's. So she took 1 - 99 and figured out it would take 99 seconds. Then she took 100 - 200 and multiplieed 100 x 2 = 200. She did that because she knew there were 100 numbers to 200 from 100. Then she took 200 x 9 = 1,800. She took 9 instead of 10 because she knew she already had used 1 - 99. The final thing she did was add 1,800 + 99. Her final answer was 1,899. She was very happy that she figured out how to count up to 1,000. Her next challenge now was to figure out how long it would take to count to 1 million (1,000,000).

* Third Place:

The Mystery of the Missing Calculator
by Madeline Pilato
age 9, grade 4, homeschooled
New London, Connecticut, U.S.

     One day Kitty woke up and was very disappointed to see the weather forecast was wrong. "Aw cat, no snow," she said.
     She got out of bed and pulled on her slippers. After taking a bath and combing her fur, Kitty began to pack her back-pack. In went her math book, pencil case, binder, etc., but she couldn't find her calculator. She looked in all her desk drawers and her closet. Soon she had looked everyplace in her room.
     "Oh no!" she cried.
     She went downstairs and told her mother. "Go look in the basement," her mother said.
     Kitty looked everywere in the basement in Catty's room, Mama and Papa's room, the kitchen, dining room, living room, and even in the bathroom! But it was'nt there ether.
     Luckily it began to snow, so the school bus never came that day.
     She called the 9 math cats. Whiskers answered the phone, "Hi Kitty" he said.
     "Oh Whiskers, I can't find my calculator. I've looked everywere in the house!"
     "Oh dear! Well, I don't know what to tell you, but did you look outside?"
     "No", said Kitty.
     "Well anyway, you can always get a new one."
     "But that one was special, and besides, if it is here, I might as well find it," Kitty said.
     Whiskers replied, "I guess that's right, but anyway you should look outside before the snow gets too bad."
     "Okay, bye."
     Kitty put on her coat and hat and ran outside. She began to dig in the snow. She thought, "When did I last have it?" She looked everywhere.
     Her mother called her in. "Time to do your homework."
     Kitty came in and began, but she was too busy thinking about her missing calculator, and everything got wrong:
     8 x 3 = 25 no! 24
     3 x 5 = 20 no! 15
     6 x 2 = 18 no! 12 and so on.
     She began to do her spelling, but that was even harder!
     Askt no! asked
     threg no! three
     wun no! one
     Soon she gave up and went outside again and searched through the snow. Then something popped into her mind, SIERRA. Then she remembered: "I left it at Sierra's house." She called Sierra and told her. Sierra found it and sent it in the mail.

* Prizes

The first place prize is a Math Cats T-shirt. All three winners receive special large Math Cats certificates.

* We're helping a special friend of Math Cats, too!

Wendy of Math Cats is making a donation to the IFOPA in honor of these three winners and in honor of Jasmin Floyd, a young friend of Math Cats. You can learn about this worthy cause on the main contest page.

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