This month’s challenges are all Math Olympiad problems! Math Olympiad problems are designed to be challenging and make you think. You must use problem solving strategies to arrive at the answer. Sometimes more than one strategy might work, but some may be more efficient and flexible than others. Consider these problem solving strategies as you attack the problem

  • Draw a picture or diagram
  • Make an organized list
  • Make a table
  • Solve a simpler, related problem first
  • Find a pattern
  • Experiment and be creative
  • Work backwards

You must bring in the correct solution and identify which strategy (or strategies) you used to earn your Experience Points.  Good luck!



There are 16 teams in the local basketball tournament.  There can only be one winner.  It will be a single-elimination style tournament.  That is, a team will be out of the tournament after one loss.  How many games will the championship team have to play?




You have 2 water jugs.  One jug measures exactly 3 cups of water.  The other jug measures exactly 5 cups of water.  There are no other measurement lines on either jug.  You can empty a jug out or fill a jug up completely, but you can’t estimate and fill it part way. How can you use these two jugs to measure out exactly 1 cup of water?




I have a barn full of 18 animals.  Some are chickens and some are cows.  There are no other animals in the barn. I counted 50 animal legs inside the barn.  How many of the animals are chickens and how many are cows?




Five people are introduced to each other, and each person shakes the hands with each of the others exactly once.  How many handshakes are exchanged altogether among the five people?



Special Ops:


You have 4 pieces of chain with 3 links apiece.  You want to connect them all into one continuous chain.  A jeweler will charge you $2 to open a link and $3 to close a link.  How can you have the four pieces joined to form a continuous chain for only $15?