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of the
February 2005
Math Cats
Writing Contest:
How do I learn to like math?

The contest rules were:

The Math Cats get lots of mail. Recently we got this message from a girl named Jaymee:

     "Hey I hate math. How do I learn to like it?"

What advice do you have for Jaymee? Write a reply!

First Place - "How could you not like math?" - by Kayla Piehler
Second Place - "You'll learn to love it" - by Alyssa V.

Other Finalist: - "FUN... with MATH???" - by Alison W.

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

* First Place:

"How could you not like math?"
by Kayla Piehler
age 13, grade 7, Valley Middle School, Mr. McGoldrick's class, Oakland, New Jersey, U.S.

Dear Jaymee,

How can you not like math?  Math is all around us!  Everything that exsists in life involves math!

Take shopping, for example.  Whether it's shopping for clothes, food, jewelry, or shoes, math is there.  If you buy a shirt that is $5.99 and jeans for $20.65 and you have $27.00, you will need to add the prices together to make sure you have enough money to pay for the clothes.

Another example is baking.  If you are inviting a group of 7 friends over and want to make enough cookies so everyone can have 3 cookies each, you have to multiply.  There will be 8 people all together and 3 cookies for each person.  That's 8 x 3. You have to make 24 cookies so each person can have 3 cookies.

So whether you think math is important or not, you should learn to like it.  It is everywhere! So next time you are caught in your math class, try turning the problem into everyday things.  That should make math go a whole lot smoother.  And hey, you may even start to like it!


* Second Place:

"You'll learn to love it"
by Alyssa V.
age 10, grade 5, Westside Elementary School, Mr. Looper's class
Kimberly, Wisconsin, U.S.

I know many people hate math!  I was once one of them!  But, after a while you learn to love the boring subject.

One thing you have to do to like math is obviously see all the sweet jobs you could have by doing math!  Like being an astronaut and being a dentist, or just being a regular parent.

We need numbers for many different things!  Taxes and Money!  Everyone loves money!  That's math!  So you're already loving math, so don't say you don't.

Plus computers are math. They had to use math to figure out what fraction of the product the memory disk is going to take up and all that stuff. And they need to know how much a computer can store! So a fun computer is math!

But when you get to the math at school, you are still loaded with reasons why you should love it!  First of all, you should because it keeps you occupied.  In school, math takes about an hour. If we didn't have math, we would have an hour more off of school every day.  That may sound awesome, but that would mean you would have to go to bed one hour earlier because your parents wouldn't know what to do with that extra time.  Sleeping is much worse than math class.  And the cooler thing about math is that when you're done earlier you can doodle on your paper afterwards!  (Hey, you didn't hear it from me!)

Math is great!  Money, jobs and doodling!  We all love math deep, deep inside!


* Other Finalist:

"FUN... with MATH???"
by Alison W.
age 10, grade 5, Muhlenberg Elementary School, Mrs. Fox's class
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.

This is SO MUCH FUN!  What do you think it is???  I'll tell you the answer:  MATH HOMEWORK (Dan Dun Dun)

Now, you may be thinking, "Is she CRAZY???  How could math be fun in the slightest?"  Well, I used to deeply agree with you!  But one day, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Sugra, taught me how fun math really is! 

To start off, every day you should do a time test.  A time test is a sheet with multiple basic math problems with a time limit.  Start with addition, then keep going (subtraction, multiplication, etc.)  To pass, you must finish all problems and get 100%.  When you've passed 50 in 3 minutes with each operation, move on to 50 in two minutes, one minute, etc. Time tests are fun and will indeed boost your love of math!

You can also have little "contests" against yourself.  Do 5 difficult math problems and then check them with a calculator.  If you get them all right, make up 4 new problems and solve them.  If you get one wrong, make up 6 new problems and solve them.  Two wrong makes seven, 3 makes 8, etc.  Keep continuing with this method of check until you have no more problems left.  See how many sheets it took you.  If it took 5 sheets, you are great.  6 - 7 means you are on target.  8 or 9 means you need a little more work.  10+ means you should ask an adult for a little help.  This method is also a fun way to get to like math!

In conclusion, I think two great ways to improve your love of math are time tests and personal "contests."  I guarantee it.  If it worked for me, it will work for you! So long!

* Prizes

The first place prize is a Math Cats T-shirt. The first and second place entries receive large Math Cats certificates. The other finalist receives a small certificate.

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

Wendy of Math Cats is making a donation to the IFOPA in honor of the winner 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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