Monday, November 16, 2009

Math Prize for Girls problems now available to the world

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the Math Prize for Girls problems are a terrific learning opportunity for everyone, regardless of gender or whether they were able to travel to participate in Saturday's contest. The problems are now available for download. (Use this URL if the embedded link doesn't work:

If you want a place to discuss your solutions and alternative approaches, this Art of Problem Solving dedicated forum is the place to go. The problems' author, Ravi Boppana, is an active discussion participant on that forum, and mathematically passionate students from all over the world contribute their ideas.

I plan to work on these problems myself as I find time to do so. I can think of a few public officials who might also find working on some of these problems a valuable learning opportunity as well. For starters, there's US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and NYC School Chancellor Joel Klein. It would be good for them to see the kinds of challenging problems that these high school students attacked with such energy--on a Saturday morning! Maybe Mayor Bloomberg too! Then there's US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (and, no, Mr. Secretary, you may NOT use TurboTax--or even a calculator--on these problems!) And, of course (mischievious grin!), maybe White House Economic Advisor Larry Summers would enjoy working on these math problems, when he needs a break from solving the country's economic problems.

Imagine the possibilities for Intrade betting if those folks had been "celebrity contestants" allowed to try the problems under timed and proctored conditions. My money would have been on quite a few of those high school girls to beat all the government officials listed above.

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