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Chicken question leaves math students scratching their heads

July10

A 13-year-old boy from Texas recently won a national math competition with an answer rooted in probabilities — and a dash of farming. The boy, Luke Robitaille, took less than a second to buzz in at the Raytheon Mathcounts National Competition with the correct answer.

The question? In a barn, 100 chicks sit peacefully in a circle. Suddenly, each chick randomly pecks the chick immediately to its left or right. What is the expected number of unpecked chicks?

For Luke, a seventh-grader from Euless, Texas, who is home schooled, the victory meant beating a teammate from Texas in the final round. As national champion, he will receive a $20,000 college scholarship and a trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

You get to think about things and move logically toward solving problems,” said Luke, who came in second place at last year’s competition.

The contest, which was open to students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, took place at a hotel ballroom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, before an audience of 1,000 people.

Now, back to that pecking problem. What is your answer? Check out Post Support to see if you are correct, but no pecking/peeking yet!

by posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Chicken question leaves math students scratching their heads    

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Post Support

NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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