Mathematics Adds Up to More Than Numbers

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Professor Mike Eden from the University of Waterloo spoke to Middle and Senior School students last week, giving them problem-solving tips and talking about the opportunities within the field of mathematics. Professor Eden shared some questions from challenging math competitions and led students through the steps necessary to solve them.

by Richard DeMerchant, Grade 8 math teacher

Grade 8 students at SMUS were pleased to welcome Mike Eden from the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC). The CMEC is recognized as Canada’s largest and most recognized outreach organization for promoting and creating activities and materials in mathematics and computer science. Founded in 1995 with origins dating back to the 1960s, the CEMC is housed within the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo.

Professor Eden provided students with a looking glass into how mathematics fits into society and in their future studies. As one student noted, “I was surprised to learn that math continues to be part of any university program… even Psychology!”

Students also had a chance to develop their problem solving skills as Mr. Eden guided students through a series of problems from the University of Waterloo’s math contests. Many students were amazed when they were able to solve a problem from the Grade 11 Fermat contest. “I didn’t really consider that [daunting] problems can be made much easier to solve by brainstorming and cutting the problem into smaller pieces,” said another grade 8 student.

How are your problem solving skills? Here’s a little sampling of the problems Mike had the students solve.

1. The product of 1188 and n is a perfect square. If n is a positive integer, find the smallest possible value of n.

2. Find the smallest positive integer n so that 4851 x n is a perfect cube.

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