QE team savours a successful day at the Maths Feast

Four boys from Year 10 finished as runners-up after a day of fierce competition at a regional team Mathematics event.


The Maths Feast, organised by the Further Mathematics Support Programme, is based around a culinary theme. For the regional round hosted by Francis Holland School, captain Viraj Mehta and his teammates Ali Afsharmoqaddam , Edward Hu and Vincent Tang were picked to represent QE after rigorous trials and a lengthy selection process.


Mathematics teacher Michael Smith said: “After experiencing the unique thrills of the Central Line in rush hour, the boys were excited to get started and show what they could do against the competition from ten other schools.”


The first round, or Entreé, comprised true-or-false questions. “The boys had to be on their guard as some of the questions at first appeared deceptively easy, but there were many tricks.”


""Next came the Amuse-Bouche round, which involved a version of the Numbers game from TV’s Countdown. Three more of these followed throughout the day, culminating in a repeat of the challenge from a vintage episode of the show from 1997, accessible on YouTube as The Most Extraordinary Numbers Game Ever. None of the Maths Feast teams repeated the original contestant’s feat of arriving at a figure of exactly 952 after first – to the astonishment of the show’s then co-host, Carol Vorderman – multiplying 318 by 75.


Then followed a comprehension round, or Main, where the contestants had to use tables of squares to find square roots. “This was a method that was completely alien to them, as they had never before attempted this without their trusty calculators,” said Mr Smith. “They took to this task admirably and ended up with full marks for this round.”


Dessert involved the contestants attempting four much more difficult questions that required full written solutions. “This tested their ability to really delve into a much more challenging problem, as well as to present their ideas in a proper mathematical way.”


Finally came the Petits-Fours, a relay round in which the teams split into pairs and raced against time before the clock ran out.


A nervous wait followed, before the boys were named in second place – “a very creditable result at the end of what had been an enthralling day out for all”, said Mr Smith.


Viraj added: “It was really interesting trying to solve problems that needed more thinking, especially the comprehension round, when we had to learn a whole new technique in just 20 minutes.”


    • Here is an example of a question, taken from the Dessert round: “Four friends want to cross a rickety bridge at night. The bridge can only hold a maximum of two people at a time. One of the friends takes eight minutes to cross the bridge, another takes five minutes, the third takes two minutes and the fourth can cross in one minute. Because they are crossing at night, they can only cross the bridge if they are holding the torch, of which there is only one. How can all four friends cross the bridge in 15 minutes?”