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Sums without frontiers;Scottish Curriculum

Pit your wits against the St Aidan's pupils

Fiendish brain-teasers furrowed the brows of pupils at St Aidan's High School, Wishaw last week, writes John Clark.

They were among 2,000 fourth and fifth-year students in 77 schools who took part in Mathematiques Sans Fronti res, an international maths competition. A further 30 schools in Northern Ireland and five in England participated in the contest which attracted around 80,000 pupils in 23 countries.

North Lanarkshire's education department organised the English-speaking section of the contest that began almost 10 years ago in Strasbourg.

St Aidan's pupils had to answer one of the written exercises in a foreign language and work as a team. The results of the contest will be announced in May.

Harvest Home - Germain has to bring in the grape harvest in two vineyards, one of which is double the other in area. The first day the whole team of grape-pickers work in the big vineyard. The second day the team divides into two equal groups. One group keeps on working in the big field, while the other starts work in the small one.

At the end of the second day the harvest in the big field is completely in but the small field keeps two workers busy for the whole of the third day. Assume that the workers always work at the same rate and that each working day is the same length. How many workers are in the team? Justify your answer.

The answer will appear next week

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