Math experts earn national awards

Fifth Grade Olympiads, front row from left, Ava Hennigh, Julia Barnett, Brody Denver, Jadon Gabor, Jimmy Gergle, and Ayla Doolen; middle row, Mathea Marcale, Liv Spitznas, Ryan White, Trevor Theuer, Evan Thon, Kaitlynn Suida, Anna George, and Ashby Muzzy; and top row, Avery Eastman, Danielle Wisser, Andrew Caldwell, Travis Bordine, Cole Gibson, Cameron Love, Sofia Ego, and Emma Ego. Not pictured, Grant Kroll. Photo provided

Twelve “mathletes” from Springfield Plains Elementary won national awards of excellence at the Math Olympiad program.
Thirty-eight SPE students were among the nearly 160,000 students worldwide to participate this year in a series of five monthly contests of five problems each, from November to March, and weekly practice sessions under the supervision and coaching of Anna Muzzy, Kim Suida, and April Love. They taught the children to solve unusual and very difficult problems and to think creatively.
Math Olympiads provides challenging, thought-provoking problems that stretch the abilities of students in grades four through eight, strengthening their foundation for both assessment tests and more advanced studies.

Problems solved

The Math Olympiad includes problems such as this cryptarithm:
Different letters represent different digits. If two letters are the same, they represent the same digit.
What is the greatest value that GOOSE could be?
(Make a list of possible numbers to be used and cross them off once used: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. We want the greatest possible sum, so D=9 , G=1, and O=8. U+U must be less than 10 and O=8, so U=4. The list now contains the numbers 0, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. To maximize the word GOOSE, we want S=7, the greatest of the remaining numbers. That means C=3. The sum of the units column must then be greater than or equal to 10. The only numbers remaining for that to occur are 5 and 6. We want the greatest value for GOOSE so let K=6 making E=2. The greatest value for GOOSE is then 18,872, which occurs when DUCK equals 9,436.)

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