Middle School Mathletes Compete at MATHCOUNTS Competition at Fairfield University
Nearly 200, 6th, 7th and 8th grade mathletes participated in MATHCOUNTS middle school competition on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Fairfield University. For the past 20 years, Fairfield University has hosted the competition, which has been produced by the Southwest Connecticut chapter of the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers for almost 35 years. More than 500,000 students compete annually in MATHCOUNTS middle school math competitions across the U.S.
This year, 28 schools and 24 teams competed. Six teams and 21 individuals have advanced to the Connecticut state competition to be held Saturday, March 11 in Hartford, CT. The winning team of Samuel Florin, Benjamin Cooper, Steven Blank and Christian Lanuza, from Central Middle School in Greenwich, is followed by second place Middlesex Middle School in Darien, third place Greenwich Country Day School, fourth place Coleytown Middle School in Westport, and fifth and sixth place Whitby School and Brunswick Middle School, both in Greenwich. Top individual winners are: Samuel Florin, Central Middle School, Yash Yedavilli Permalla, Madison Middle School, Ming Wu, Middlesex Middle School, Kieran Johnston, Cloonan Middle School and Vincent Xu, Middlesex Middle School.
A sixth grade competitor from Coleytown Middle School said, "It was really fun solving the problems and it was different and more challenging than school. You get to stretch your brain."
Winners from the state competition will compete at the national competition. The top four individual competitors from each state competition will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the MATHCOUNTS National Competition, May 14-15 in Orlando, FL.
The competition is divided into four levels: school, chapter, state, and national. In general, the problems become harder as one progresses towards nationals. Each school is allowed to send one team of four students, plus six students who compete only as individuals, to the chapter competition.
Problems selected for MATHCOUNTS competitions cover a wide range of material designed to challenge middle school students of all levels. Each level of competition is comprised of 4 rounds—Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Round, which take about 3 hours in total to complete. During the Sprint Round, which focuses on speed and accuracy, students have 40 minutes to complete 30 math problems without a calculator. In the Team Round, students receive four sets of problems and have 6 minutes to complete each pair. The Team Round focuses on problem solving and collaboration and students may use calculators to complete 10 math problems in 20 minutes. Additionally, a Countdown Round may be held, where students have a maximum of 45 seconds per problem without a calculator. The Countdown Round at the Southwest Connecticut chapter’s competition last Saturday was “for-fun” and moderated by News 12 weatherman, Mike Rizzo.
For over two decades, Fairfield University math professor Joseph Dennin, PhD, has ensured that the MATHCOUNTS chapter event at Fairfield has run smoothly. He is passing the torch to his colleagues in the math department including Janet Striuli, PhD, associate professor of math and computer science, who helped host this year’s event. “With the assistance of our math majors who help with proctoring, scoring and serving food, Fairfield University is continuing to foster positive relationships with local schools,” Striuli said. “This event is a great opportunity for our math majors and visiting middle school students to share their enthusiasm for math.”
MATHCOUNTS was founded in 1982 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and CNA Foundation. The mission of the MATHCOUNTS Foundation is to inspire excellence, confidence and curiosity in U.S. middle school students through fun and challenging math programs. The MATHCOUNTS Foundation provides guidance and resources for this first-of-its-kind effort to reach out to urban public school students, get them excited about math, raise their test scores and provide them with role models.
Current sponsors include Raytheon Company, Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman Foundation, National Society of Professional Engineers, CNA Foundation, Phillips 66, Texas Instruments Incorporated and 3M.