By Sarah Herman
This past March, I had the opportunity to participate in the final round of Michlalah College’s International Ulpaniada math competition in Israel. The Ulpaniada is a problem-solving competition based on math skills and logical reasoning, composed of three tests. Michlalah treated me, along with 12 other finalists from around the world, to an exciting week on its campus filled with incredible day trips around Israel and interesting lessons from Michlalah teachers. And yes, we had one day that was devoted entirely to the competition. Throughout it all, there was one idea that was ingrained into our minds: Math is fun. Yes, I know for many people this sounds a bit paradoxical; after all, most people associate math with impossible exams and challenging homework problems. Michlalah asserted that this was the root of the problem, and that if we could experience math through more informal outlets, then we could truly appreciate its beauty and its entertainment.
I thought that this was a great message, one that I wanted to bring back to the Five Towns. And so, I decided, with the assistance of the 5TJT and with the participation of the Michlalah Math Department, to initiate this column, “Can You Figure It Out?” Each week will feature a new puzzle, similar to the ones in the Ulpaniada competition, with solutions to follow the next week. My hope is that the readers of the Five Towns Jewish Times will learn to enjoy math as much as I do.
Please keep in mind that these puzzles are meant to be challenging; do not be discouraged if you cannot solve one. But I guarantee that the more puzzles you do, the better you will become at solving them.
I look forward to working on this column, and I hope that you will enjoy solving these puzzles with me! v
Sarah Herman is a senior at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.