“That’s two answers!”

Today, at Quiz Bowl Districts:

“Find the y-intercept of the equation x^2 + 5x -15 = 0

Teammate buzzed in, is acknowledged: “(0, -15)”

“Incorrect.”

Other team guessed wrong.

“The correct answer was negative 15.”

Obviously the team challenged the answer. The y-intercept of an equation is a point. A point can be expressed in coordinate form. The moderator was confused. She handed the answer guide over to the scorekeeper, who said:

“Oh, it’s been a while since I’ve done this [math]! Wait, but you guys said 0, -15. That’s two answers!”

We got our 5 points in the end, but not after a lot of convincing the moderator and the scorekeeper that “(0, -15)” and “the y-intercept is -15” is the same thing.

Even if it’d been a long time since they’d taken math, coordinate form shouldn’t be something that can be forgotten. I don’t know. But it’s not like points aren’t used in “real-world applications,” either. For instance, looking at and reading maps takes some knowledge of finding specific points.

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