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Winners of the November 2002 Math Cats Writing Contest: 
On September 29, 2002, a boy wrote to us: Dear Math Cats, Why do we have math???? We thought that was a good question. We turned it into the November 2002 Writing Contest. Below are the winning entries. We hope you'll read them all! (Last names will be posted when parents provided permission.)
First Place  "Math: More Than a Student's Nightmare"
Who judged the contest?
* First Place
Math: More Than a Student's Nightmare
"Length is 20 feet, width is 15 feet, so if I..." My muttering was interrupted by the crashing sound of a pyramid of tomato sauce cans. Bethany wins first prize: a oneofakind handmade handpainted set of Soma blocks, created by Wendy Petti, the mother of all Math Cats. The blocks are made of 27 cubes, decorated with 27 white Math Cats. You can use the 7 Soma blocks to make lots and lots of 3D shapes (like a cube and a staircase and a bed and a throne). The first prize includes a booklet with lots of design ideas. * Second Place (tie):
A World Without Math
Could you imagine a world without math? You're probably thinking yes, because you think math is just adding and subtracting. Boy, you wouldn't know how much chaos there would be in the world if we didn't use math... Second Place (tie):
If We Didn't Have Math... If we didn't have math, how would we know how much change to get at the store? It could be low, it could be high. No one would know 1 + 1 = 2, they might think it = 3, = 4, = 0, etc. Math helps our brains think. In fact my teacher told me that everything you learn gets stored in neurons (cells in your brain). At about the age of 10, every neuron that you're not using just goes away. If we didn't have math, those neurons would be history. Math is my favorite subject in school. I don't know what I would do without math. I Luv Math!!!!!!!!! If we didn't have math, we couldn't count. Everyone would make fun of each other. The entire world would be a big ruckus. Personally, I hate seeing someone's feelings get hurt. If we didn't have math, we wouldn't have, well, pretty much, anything!!!!! In conclusion, we NEED math or we would live on everything natural. No computers, no buildings, no theory of relativity, no theory of gravity, worst of all, no computers = no internet = no math cats. * Third Place:
A Story About James
When James was in school he didn't pay much attention to math. He was one of those kinds of people that thought he knew it all. * Fourth Place:
Billy  Why Do We Have Math? Dear Billy, As friend of your favorite inventor (Albert Einstein), I believe I can inform you on why we have math in this world. Oh, phoo! I sound like Albert. The only thing that bugged me about him is that he was always so intelligent and serious. I'm getting off topic again! Well, math was invented because people didn't know how much to pay for a shirt and couldn't add or round or do anything that has to do with math! Math was invented when I was 4 and that was centuries ago, to make life easier. Think about things you do in everyday life. Many of those things would be hard if math weren't thought. Go to Einstein's grave and he'll tell you. What I am getting to is that we need math to do even the simplest things!
~ Your friend, * Best Adult Entry:
Morning Mathematics
The main purpose of mathematics is to wake myself up in the morning. All other uses for it are accidental. Perhaps I should explain. These top entries (above) receive special large Math Cats certificates, and the other finalists (below) receive smaller certificates. * Other Finalists
We Gotta Have Math Why do we have math? That's an easy question. We have math to make life easier! Suppose you have a limited amount of money that you can spend. You want to purchase a few items but you can't add the prices to see if you have enough money. Now you need math. Suppose you know you have double of what you had last year for your camp, but you can't multiply to save your life. Now you need math. You only have ten fingers and you won't always have a calculator handy. You definitely need math. Well, now you know why you need math!
Why do we have math? Math is an important invention because we use it to count things, and measure and build things, figure out when to do things like eat dinner, and to figure out the portions of things like pizza slices. Math is used to make pretty shapes, in many sizes. Even colors can be figured out mathematically. I especially like to figure out how much money I have so I can save up to buy cool things. Someday I am going to run a business and I will need math to help me keep watch of my money because if I don't watch out, I won't have enough money to buy food for my family. If we don't learn math when we are kids, we won't know how to do things when we grow up.
The Purpose of World Wide Math If math was optional, at least 55% of the kids in New Zealand would choose not to take it, but this means that they have not thought about the future and what would happen to them if they didn't take math. They would not be able to count money and they would not even know how to count! We need math to keep us motivated. We need math to tell the time and we need math to show us the way. If we didn't have math, there would probably be no famous Albert Einstein or Plato. We need math so much and if math was gone on holiday, we would all be a bunch of dummies who can't go to the bank because no one would know how to add or subtract. So you see, we need math in every day life to keep us smart and to keep us motivated, so we know that if math went on holiday, we would still be none the wiser.
Math Can Be Beautiful!
Math keeps us on the ball. It begins with counting. Spreads to subtracting, adding, dividing, multiplying. Then, you get into the various areas, such as number theory, algebra, geometry, solid geometry, calculuamany other areas such as transfinite numbers, imaginary numbers, square roots and squares, cube roots and cubes, et cetera, ad infinitum. I think that only teachers will find all of these areas fascinating.
Why We Have Math Why do we have math? Well math is required for every job. You may not think this is true but it is! A writer: You have to use math to know the costs of your books, to get them published, things like that! A carpenter: To cut wood and all that stuff you need to know about centimeters, meters, inches, things in that category. Company Owner: You ALWAYS need to know math for this. You own a factory, a company! How much money you owe and earn needs math as everybody SHOULD know. Well, that's why you need math!
Dear John Dear John,
We have math because if we did not, * Our Youngest Entrant
I Love Math Cats We have math so that we can learn our numbers. * Other Nice Entries
Why Do We Have Math? We have math because if we buy something we need to know how much it costs and how to pay for it with coins. We also need to know math so we can do everyday things like buy toys and count the birds and talk to people and sound smart. We also need math to drive and have a good education and a good job. I think math is great and fun. Math and science are my favorite subjects. That is why we need math.
Why do we have math? We have math so we can add up objects. without math we would not have numbers. We would not have shoe sizes. We would not have lots of things. Not even birthdays!!!
Why We Have Math We have math to help us every day! For instance, if we didn't have math, we wouldn't be able to pay for food we needed. We have math to count how many costumes we need for a play. When we're old enough to cook, we wouldn't know how much rice to put into a measuring cup if we didn't have math. So we have math to help us with just about everything!
What Is So Wrong With Math??? My dear friends, After much thought and deliberation, I have come up with a solution to this perplexing predicament you so unfortunately find yourselves in at the present time. It is my philosophy that people only think they hate MATH. MATH is in fact a most vital part of our daily lives. For instance, I can count and make sure that I have the correct number of fingers and toes on my hands and feet, because of MATH !!!!!! I'm so sorry that you do not enjoy the blessing of MATH as much as I do !
Dear Math Cats Dear Math Cats, I think the reason we have and need math is because when you get older and have a family you will need to know how to do taxes, or else you won't have a family or a house. Another reason is because if you were to walk into a store and you needed to pay for something, first of all you would need to know how to do math and add numbers. And that's why I think we have and need math.
Why Do We Need Math We have math because I LOVE not like math and I mean LOVE! We also have math because we need to learn. Ex: Say you went to H.E.B. and bought a mini skirt that cost $4.78, and a bright green Tshirt that cost $3.24. How would you know how much to pay? That's what I think we have math for. What do you think?
What Would Happen If Math and Numbers Didn't Exist Without math we would not be able to mark dates in history. We would not have Science or time. The world would not be COOL!!!!! :) We would not be able to do probably ANYTHING!!!!!
Why We Have Math I think the reason why we have math is to educate children with numbers. For example if they were to grow up and be an architect they would have to know numbers to make sure measurements were right. Same thing with doctors  they have to know how many milligrams their patient needs. So, as you can see math is used in every day life, even some things that you wouldn't even imagine. That is why I think we have math.
Why Do We Have Math? Because maths is a very good part of school and just wouldn't be the same without it. Maths can be very good fun and can have games included. The games are also fun and it is a group activity so no one can get left out. Every day you should have a maths lesson. It's one of the things you never get bored of. You can learn so many different things and nothing isn't interesting.
Why Do We Have Math? We have math so that students can get an education and go to college. Math is a very important part of life. We use math every day whether we are at school or work. Math is used when you go to the bank, or when you are doing your homework. Math can help you learn for when you get a job whether it's fast food cashier or a banker. Math will help you throughout life. Math helps us at basketball and baseball games with the score. That is why math is important to me.
Math Is Important.... We have math because we have to know how to add, multiply and divide to get through life properly. If we didn't have math then we wouldn't get a good job. This is what the world would be like if we did not have math, you wouldn't be able to calculate numbers in science and if science went down lots and lots of people would die because we wouldn't have the technology we do right know. People wouldn't know how much money they have because they wouldn't know how to count. So that's why math is important to have on earth!!!! Thank you Thank you
Why We Need Math I think that math is so important. Without it we would not be able to do many of the things we thrive on. For example, without math we wouldn't be able to count how much money we have to buy things we need. If you had a business, you would need to order things and would have to multiply to see if you had enough of what you needed. Without math, you wouldn't have been able to multiply the numbers and the manufacturers could rip you off. You do not want this to happen, now do you? In conclusion, we really need math, otherwise business men and women would rip us off, big time!!
Why Is Math So Important? Math is important because you need to learn math. You can't go to a store and have no money! You see something you want in the store and see how much you need. Let's say you see something that is $4.00. You will need 4 one dollar bills. Then you can buy that thing you want. If the teacher asked you what 10 + 10 = and you didn't know the answer you don't know math! Your teacher can teach you math at school.
Math's Important  Keep It That Way! We need math for many things. If we didn't know math, we would get an F on our test! Then we wouldn't get a job. We would be poor with no homes. We need math about 13 percent of our whole life! We need it for cooking, painting, etc.
Money Math We need math for a lot of things. One of the things we need math for is if we want to buy something. Another thing that we need math for is if we owe somebody money and you don't know how much you owe them. One other thing we need math for is if you need to measure something and your ruler isn't big enough.
Math's Great Math is important because when you go to a shop you need to count money and you need math so you can add, subtract or multiply. You can also do mental math, use paper, or a calculator but math is important no matter how you use it. We use math in many different subjects like science to measure, architects use it to build homes and we use math to tell time and get to school on time. My mom uses math to cook. Math is something we use every day and it is great.
Mathorama Math is important because math is a subject we use every day. In most jobs you have to know how to do math. For example if you go to the store and the cashier is not an honest person and you don't know how to do math then they might take all your money and give you the wrong amount of whatever you are buying then that is very unfair. Sometimes you have to use math in other subjects like science when you are measuring things. You also use math when you are measuring the size of a room. There are many ways that you can use math. Math is a very important subject!
Why Do We Have Math? Children get the educational privilege of mathematics to give us a wider range of careers and to increase our knowledge. If we didn't have maths, there would not be as many careers available and we wouldn't be very smart.
Math Math makes the world fair. * Who judged the contest? Wendy Petti, the mother of the Math Cats, narrowed the entries down to the top 12 finalists and 19 other Honorable Mention entries. Then the winners were chosen by three children:
* Jasmin Floyd, age 9 (you can read more about her below) * We're helping a special friend of Math Cats, too! In addition to the first prize and the certificates for the winners and other finalists, Wendy of Math Cats made a donation to the IFOPA in honor of the kids who wrote the top three entries and in honor of Jasmin Floyd, one of our judges. You can learn about this worthy cause on the main contest page.

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© copyright 2002  by Wendy Petti of Math Cats. All Rights Reserved. 