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of the
March 2004
Math Cats
Writing Contest:

The contest rules were:

What would happen in your ideal day, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed? Include the time at which every activity happens. You may write this as a list or as a story, but be sure to include the times!

As an option, you may write this from the point of view of an animal or another person instead of as yourself.

We love writing that is creative, detailed, and humorous.


First Place - "The Perfect Day for a Math Teacher -
                    A Math Curse for This Student" - by Ann H.

Other Finalists

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

* First Place:

The Perfect Day for a Math Teacher - A Math Curse for This Student
by Ann H.
age 12, grade 6, St. John's School, Ms. Shayla Thomas's class
Houston, Texas, U.S.

     The big ski trip is tomorrow! I can't wait! I'm at school, and it's dismissal. I just can't stay in my seat! When the bell rings, I rush home to get my homework done quickly so I won't have any on the trip. After it's all done, my dad hands me a list of things to pack. Before I even look at it, he says, You know, I've been thinking, and you can think about almost everything as a math problem. I ignore him and look at the sheet. Just by looking at the list, I can tell that this will take a long time to pack. I pack a few things, but soon I grow tired and I fall into a deep sleep.
     In the morning I wake up early at 3 o'clock to finish packing for our early plane flight. When I look in my suitcase, I find a Deer Valley ski map. Inside, there is a graph of how much snow they had received in the past few years. It looks like there might be a lot of snow this year since there was lots of snow last year. Maybe if I find the average or the mean, I'll be able to see how much snow we will probably have (in inches) for this ski season.
     In 2000, there were 124 inches. In 2001, there were 98 inches. In 2002, there were 96 inches. If 124 + 98 + 96 = something, then divided by 3 equals the average, then about how much snow will we probably have? And speaking of snow, it will be very cold. So, for each ten degrees below 40°F, you should wear an additional layer of clothing to keep warm. If the temperature is 20°F, then how many layers will you wear if you start with two at 40°F?
     Afterwards, I look at the list of people that are coming. There are eight dads, but I'm not sure how many girls there are. There are twenty-one people in all, so
8 + g = 21. How many girls are coming? I also looked at how many rooms there were. There were seven bedrooms, so there would be three people in each room. Plus, each person gets two slices of pizza on the first night so how many pieces of pizza would we need? I'm wondering how much this will cost.
     All of this math is wearing me out. I fall asleep in my chair. When I wake up, I quickly get ready to go and I see a few sheets of paper lying on the kitchen table. I pick them up and look at them. When I look at the list of payment for ski boot rentals, 5 people still had not paid the full amount. We still needed the boot rental money from them, and boot rentals cost $10.00 each for the trip. So, if 5 people haven't paid, and they each need to pay $10.00, then the equation would be 5 x $10.00, which would equal what?
     Luckily, some people had skis for the ski trip, so they didn't have to rent them. Eleven people didn't have skis already. If there are twenty-one people in all, how many brought skis? Is eleven a prime number? Is the number of people who already have skis a prime number?
     My dad tells me to hurry up, so we grab our bags and rush downstairs. He says that there are six cars going to the airport. Since there is so much stuff, we can only put three people in each car. Is twenty-one divisible by six, or will we have to squeeze more people into each car? Will we have to stuff them in the trunk? Should we ask someone to bring a van?
     One of the cars that is going to the airport arrives at our house. It's really early in the morning, at five o'clock, so we stumble through the darkness and finally reach the car.
     We drive for thirty minutes and finally reach the airport. After we get our tickets and check our bags, we have to get on the airplane. If a whole equals the number of people going on the trip, you would have to divide it into twenty-firsts. If fifteen people, or 15/21, are getting on one plane, and you subtract that from 21/21, then how many people will be getting on the second plane? Also, if the second plane takes 2½ hours to get to our destination and the one with fifteen people only takes 1¼ hours to get there, then how much later will the other plane get there?
     When we finally get there, we eat lunch at the airport. Four people want hamburgers, five people want pizza, and two people want barbecue. How many people do not want hamburgers, pizza, or barbecue? Won't they be hungry, or do you think they will get something else?
     We drive for half an hour to the house we are staying at. It is very big, and everyone rushes in. On each bed there are complimentary goody bags, and we all tear through them to find the candy. I looked in the bathroom to see if there was anything neat in there, but sadly there wasn't. I did notice though that the floor was a rectangular shape. If two of the sides are four yards each, and the other two are three yards each, then what is the perimeter of the bathroom?
     I am getting pretty dizzy from all of this math. I shake my head, and my sister gives me a funny look. There is no doubt that this is a math curse. But more is coming, I know it.
     After awhile, everyone gets hungry, and a few of the dads go shopping for groceries. One bought 2 1/3 gallons of ice cream. We will use all but 1/5 of it tonight. If 2 1/3 x 1/5 = the amount that we will have left over, then how much ice cream will we have for later?
     Dinner is great. We eat pizza, drink sodas, and have ice cream for dessert. Afterwards, we have 3½ slices of pizza left, and thirteen girls want a piece. If 3½ divided by 13 equals the amount of pizza each person gets, then how many slices will we have to cut it into, and how much will each person get? I feel a little strange, and I tell everyone that I m not hungry any more.
     It's getting late, so I decide to get ready for bed. When I go into the bedroom to put on my pajamas, I notice the bedroom is shaped kind of funny. It has four sides: seven yards, ten yards, seven yards, and fourteen yards.

Is this shape a quadrilateral? Is it a parallelogram? Does it have any parallel sides? Later, my friend invites me into her room to watch some television before we go to bed. Her bedroom has eight equal sides. What would the name of that shape be if there was another side? What about if we took away three sides? The television show is over, and I'm tired from all of this math. I've definitely been put under a math curse. I fall asleep almost immediately.

I dream that I am in a big room. Right before my eyes, an old woman appears. She demands,
     "How many cards am I holding? "
     "Uh, I stutter, ten?"
     "Is that enough to play a game? Of course not," she says in a screechy voice. I begin to think hard. Ten centimeters is a decimeter, maybe ten cards is one decacards! That is enough to play a game!
     One decacards! I cry, solving her riddle. The cards and the old woman vanish. Before any more riddles are asked, someone shakes me and I wake up. It's my sister. I slept late and it's time to get up.
     When I'm ready, I discover that I didn't do any math problems all morning. Finally! The math curse is over!
     I enjoy the rest of the trip, but when I get back home and go to school, my history teacher tells me, "You know, you can think of almost everything as an event in history!"


* Try to solve all the math problems in the story! *

The judges felt that this story was the clear winner. It does not include the time at which each activity happens, but it is loaded with math and is lots of fun. There is no second or third place winner this month. Here are the other finalist entries. They were selected as finalists because they included the time at which each activity happens.

* Other Finalists

A Day with Me
by Keyla Mori-Ramos
age 11, grade 6, Schweinfurt Elementary School, Ms. Maka's class
Schweinfurt, Germany

11:00 a.m.- I wake up and I smell my Papi's French Toast.
11:01 - I finally get out of bed, put on my bathrobe, and wash my face and teeth.
11:02 - I say "bendison" (Spanish for bless me, elder) to my mother and father.
11:03 - 11:48 - I stuff my face with delicious French toast, scrambled eggs, jalapeno sausages, and waffles with a LOT of syrup.
11:49 - I wash the syrup from my hands and fix me some orange juice, freshly squeezed.
11:50 - 11:52 - I slowly sip my orange juice, letting myself savor every single drop.
11:53 - 12:18 - I pack my swimsuit, a towel, some snacks, my small brother's swimtrunks and floaties, and some sunscreen in a large backpack. I also make sure my two older brothers have enough money in their backpacks to let us stay in the swimming pool for 3½ hours.
12:19 - We all hop into the minivan and start going to the pool.
12:28 - We all arrive at the pool.
12:29 - We pay this German lady 18 Euro and head inside the large Swim Heaven Building.
12:30 - 12:40 - I take my little brother to a small stall and help him put on his swimsuit. I let him go potty while I quickly change into my swimsuit.
12:41 - 12:50 - We search for a great tanning spot outside of the building and find one by the toddler wading pool. My two older brothers, Lito and Jason, lay down.


My Perfect Day
by Greg H.
age 12, grade 7, homeschooled, Roalia, Washington, U.S.

The following list is what I would call a perfect day for me:

1. Wake up at 9:18 (four hours after my light cycle at 5:18 which is when I don't feel tired) and stay there for about 10 minutes.
2. Read my devotion at about 9:27 and finish it, pray, and get up.
3. Don't make my bed (remember, this is just imaginary) and go eat breakfast.
4. At about 9:45 get dressed and go sit on the couch and play a hand held game or read a book (a book that I wanted to read).
5. Get up and build with the marble racing from about 10:12 until I am done.
6. After that, play on the computer for a while.
7. At about 11:45, maybe get up and get lunch, which is Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza.
8. Go out for a while if it is a nice day and do some shooting with Dad.
9. Play chess with Dad at about 1:04 and beat him after a long game of fun.
10. Play again with Dad and let him win this time.
11. Play on the computer some more at about 2:12.
12. Go out and play Frisbee, catch, and golf with Dad, Dani, Amanda, and Emily (and Mom if she want, which I don't think she would).
13. Climb a tree and find and train a baby bird at about 3:57.
14. Go in at about 4:08 and show Mom and everybody else the bird I got.
15. Play some more chess with Dad at around 4:24 and win.
16. Do a project with Dad or Mom at around 4:42 and finish it and have fun in the meantime.
17. Have chicken curry for dinner at 5:35.
18. Play with Hannah for a while after dinner and not have her get fussy.
19. Watch Star Wars at 6:17 and have ice cream with lots of chocolate chips.
20. After the movie, stay up till midnight drinking pop, playing games, watching a couple other movies, and talking together.
21. We finally go to bed at areound 12:35 and I don't have to get ready at all (this is imaginary), and we get to sleep in till 10:00 tomorrow. This has been the best day ever!

My Day, As Told By Angel the Bird
by Michelle S.
age 9, grade 4, Paxson School, June Kohler's class, Missoula, Montana, U.S.

I woke up early one morning and discovered that the big beings - humans, as they called themselves - were not awake yet, so they had not changed the water yet, and no way was I going to drink that stuff. I flew down from my perch, swooped around for a while, and landed. I helped myself to a couple of seeds and stared up at my roommate. Her name is Toto, and she is named after Toto in the Wizard of Oz. She amired herself in the mirror for a few moments. DING!!! DONG!!! She flew into the air with fright when the great grandfather clock struck seven. That was my cue. I immediately began to chirp as loudly as I could for five whole minutes nonstop. Huh, you betcha that the big beings woke up then. They changed our water splickety-quick. I feasted on bird feed for an hour, so when the time was 8:05, I was finished with breakfast. I flew up onto the nest. I listened to the mother human humming a tune while she did the dishes before I decided to sing some chirps of my own. Soon I was joined in by Toto. Together we made a beautiful harmony, and we sang our hearts out. I opened my eyes to look at the clock. What I did not know was that the mother person had hung a large towel with a tiger on it. Since my eyes are sort of small and puny, if I may say so myself, it is hard to focus on big things, so I thought it was an alley cat and fainted. I came to myself. At four o'clock, the big beings were watching Barbie of Swan Lake and I saw a swan for the first time in my life. Beautiful bird, I thought. I fell asleep.

My Ideal Day!
by Jamilla A.
age 9, grade 4, St. Fiacre's Primary School, Ms. Barducci's class
Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia

7:00 wake up!
7:15 watch TV (ABC Kids)
7:30 have a shower
7:35 get dressed (wear jeans and singlet)
7:45 have breakfast (Froot Loops)
7:50-8:00 play game cube
8:00-10:00 go shopping, K-Mart or Target
(buy a pair of jeans and new shoes) (take 2 friends)
10:00-11:30 have an early lunch (ham and cheese sandwich) (Diet Coke)
11:30-12:00 have some dessert
12:00-1:00 watch a movie (Finding Nemo)
1:00-2:00 go to the pool (Leichhardt pool)
2:00-2:30 have some hot chips (chicken salt tomato sauce)
2:30-3:00 play game cube
3:00-5:00 have a party (dance party) (with friends)
5:00-5:30 have a rest
5:30-6:30 watch TV (channel 10)
6:30-7:30 watch TV (channel 7)
7:30-9:00 have dinner (go out to no names)
9:00 go to bed!

The Circus and Zoo Day
by Meghan R.
age 7, grade 1, homeschooled, Spring, Texas, U.S.

I woke up this morning at 6:30am. I was going to get ready for breakfast when I saw a falling star. I wished for a make-up set. Then very fast my wish came true and I was very happy. I finished getting dressed for breakfast. My mommy was making pancakes. We had breakfast at 8:00 and we got finished at 9:00. We were going to go to the circus today. We got ready to go. We left at 9:30 because the circus started at 10:00 and it took 30 minutes to get there. We went to go and get our tickets. Next we went to go see my favorite animal show and went to get cotton candy. The animal show started at 10:40 and ended at 11:40. After the show we went to go and get some lunch. I had 5 chocolate bars for lunch and we had lunch at 12:00 and we got finished at 12:30. We left the circus at 12:40 and went to the zoo. When we got to the zoo it was 1:20. First we went to go and see the zebras. We saw lots of other animals. After we were done looking at the animals we got to go and play in the water. Next we went to go and get some ice cream. I got 2 ice cream bars. We left the zoo at 5:00. When we got home we got to have a cookie and juice. Next we got in the tub at 6:00. When I got out we put our pajamas on and we read until 9:00 and then we went to bed.

My Day Is Gonna "Hip Hop" All the Way
by Rachel R.
age 9, grade 4, Penn Valley School, Ms. Kinkle's class, Levittown, Pennsylvania, U.S.

I wake up on a bright warm saturday morning, get in a jean skirt and a baby blue tanktop. Next at 8:15 I brush my hair and brush my teeth. I grab my sandles and my sunglasses. I start to walk out of my room. Outside my door, Hilary Duff is standing there out of nowhere. "HILARY DUFF!!!!" I say in a happy way. "We have a shopping spree at 9:00, let's go." We hop in the limo and go to the mall. We come back around 1:00 in the afternoon. She stays at my house the rest of the day! from a bright warm Saturday to a hip hoppin' afternoon!!!


We really enjoyed this last entry. It didn't include the time for any activity so it didn't quite make the list of finalists, but we thought it deserves...

Honorable Mention:

Penrose's Perfect Day
by Madeline Pilato
age 9, grade 4, homeschooled, New London, Connecticut, U.S.

     Penrose woke up one Saturday and snuggled down into his basket to go back to sleep, but then suddenly he felt extremely awake. He jumped out of bed and ran downstairs and smelt the delicious aroma of bacon, rice, and milk.
     After breakfast he went outside and brought with him: Tangrams, ALL ABOUT MATH, MATH CRAFTS, a note book, pencil case, calculator, his math workbook, and MATHMANIA. He hurried outside and sat down by silk stream and read. After a little while he got out a lunch box in which he had beef, corn, rice, broccoli, and milk. After eating every last crumb, he took out his three kitty treats and ate them up. He climbed up a magnolia, and before he knew it he was at the top! He had never been able to touch that very high leaf before, and now he could: he reached out and plucked it from the branch, and then came down.
     He played with his tangram, and after a little while came home.
     He played Petco with Milky and got to be the cat, and he won!
     Then everybody played Capture the Flag. Penrose was a captain of the blue team, and they won! How happy he was. What a perfect day.


* Prizes

The first place prize is a Math Cats T-shirt and a large certificate. The other finalists receive smaller 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 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.

back to the main contest page

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