The Do You Know Blue Student Prizewinner

Rebecca Christainsen had the highest score of any student on our Do You Know Blue machine learning activity. Yesterday was her last day of school at Terman Middle School in Palo Alto, CA, so Evan Weinberg, Dave Major, and I sent her math class a pizza party in her honor.

Because we’re keeping the activity available for you and your students to use as they study inequalities, we aren’t going to go into much depth on all the different rules contestants used. But I asked Rebecca how she came to her final, game-winning rule, and she told all:

My teacher first showed me the website, and I decided to try it out. My first attempt scored me only around 18%, but since hardly anyone had tried it out yet, I was ranked 33rd. After that, I was encouraged to try more equations, and suddenly thought of all the different types of equations that I could use, and moved to squared terms. One of the first equations that I came up with was b2>r2+g2. I simply used trial and error to come up with new equations, and I recorded each equation that I used and the percentage. I combined different equations together, and a few different combinations even had the same percentage.

Nobody beat that.

Extra Credit: How many of the Standards of Mathematical Practice does Rebecca evoke in that quote?

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Christopher Perry

    June 2, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    Hey, my name is Chris and I am in a edm 310 class at the University of South Alabama, and I am a little confused about what you are trying to say. But at the end when you said that no body beat that, is that implying that she won the competition that that student was in? But it is great to see that the younger generation is getting into mathematics. When i was going through school it seemed like no body wanted to take any math courses and they didn’t see the point in taking the math courses.

  2. Phil D

    June 6, 2013 - 9:33 pm

    Chris, I think what Dan meant is that nobody beat her fantastic explanation and mathematical reasoning of how she got to her answer. In this case, as is often the case in Mathematics, the journey is more important than the destination and although she did get the highest score, this is not as important as the process she went through (AND how well she could articulate it) in getting the answer.