The Challenge 24 Competition is a mathematics competition for 3rd-, 4th-, 5th-, 6th-, and 7th-graders, hosted each spring by the SBU Department of Mathematics. Participants play the 24 Game, which involves a deck of cards, each showing four whole numbers between 1 and 9. When presented with a card, the players strive to be the first to combine the four numbers to make 24 using only addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Many cards have more than one solution. The game can be surprisingly challenging, but the participants in Challenge 24 are quite good, having previously won competitions within their own schools. The coordinator for the SBU Challenge 24 Competition is Dr. Doug Cashing.
The 24 Game was developed in 1988 by Robert Sun to provide students with a fun way to discover patterns among numbers. Sun founded the company Suntex International Inc. to market the game.
Each card in the 24 Game is marked with one dot, two dots, or three dots to indicate its level of difficulty. Generally, the higher the number of dots, the more challenging the card. To the right is a two-dot card containing the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 4. Try making 24 with the numbers on this card. Remember: you must use each of the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 4 exactly once and the only operations you may use are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (Since you must use each of the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 4 exactly once, you will end up using 4 twice.) You do not need to use all four of the operations and you may use an operation more than once. There are three essentially different solutions for this card. Can you find all of them? Clicking the buttons below the card will reveal these solutions.
The Department of Mathematics needs about 30 volunteers to run the Challenge 24 Competition. If you would like to work with kids who love math, sign up to help us! Elementary education majors are particularly encouraged to volunteer. The competition is held on a Saturday in March or early April. The next competition will be planned in the fall, at which time volunteers will be solicited by Dr. Cashing by email and in mathematics classes.
The 2013 Challenge-24 Competition was held on Saturday, April 6. There were thirty students from six schools attending this year. The participating schools were Cuba-Rushford Middle School, East View Elementary (in Olean), Hinsdale, Olean Intermediate-Middle School, Otto-Eldred Elementary School, and Otto-Eldred Middle School. Medals, in the traditional colors of gold, silver, and bronze, were awarded to the first, second, and third place students in each grade. Congratulations to all!
Previous Challenge 24 Competitions (participating schools & winners)
The student organizers for the 2013 competition were Margaret Atherton, Amrita Maniram, Esther St. Cloud, Rebecca Tallman, and Steven Zimmer. These students were invaluable assistants to Dr. Cashing in the planning and execution of Challenge 24. Thank you!
On a cold Saturday morning in March, you might expect elementary school and middle school students to be watching TV, texting their friends, or playing outside among the remnants of winter. You may be mostly right---but not completely. In western New York, some 4th-, 5th-, 6th-, and 7th-graders have traveled with parents and teachers to St. Bonaventure University to compete in a math competition. That's a rather beautiful thing.
The Challenge 24 Competition is organized by Dr. Doug Cashing and about five Bona's students. The organizers are aided by about 30 volunteers, who range from SBU students to SBU faculty to middle school teachers to parents. The organizers and volunteers are here for one reason: to celebrate the wonderfully-talented elementary and middle school students who love math so much that they spend a Saturday morning in a math competition. Challenge 24 also celebrates the teachers and the parents who coached and supported their students and children. The following photos of Challenge 24 were taken over the years and together chronicle a single competition.
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