Gauss Math Contest Conundrum

Mr. Guthrie’s Students Challenge the Answer Key

On Friday afternoon during our GECDSB Middle Years Collaborative Inquiry Learning Fair, Craig Guthrie received a notification from his class Schoology account that a student had posted a question.

The student indicated that there was a question on the University of Waterloo Gauss Math Contest Practice Test that the class was debating over. The answer key stated one answer, but a number of students felt that the answer could not be correct.

Gauss Math Contest Practice Question

The question students were at a disagreement over was the following:

The sum of 11 different whole numbers can be ______, but never less.

a) 11
b) 45
c) 55
d) 66

The answer key states that the answer is a) 11, but what do you think?

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About Kyle Pearce

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.

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