Valentine's Day isn't just a special day for flowers, chocolates and romantic dinners. Now its a special day for mathematics lovers. So, step aside Cupid, here comes Euclid.
This Saturday, Feb. 14, 200 area students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will exchange hearts and flowers for polynomials and statistics. They will express their love for mathematics at Mathcounts, a regional and national competition that pits students in rigorous math combat. The event is held on the campus of the University of Vermont.
The students, from around Chittenden County, will perform alone and in teams. They will be required to complete written and oral tests with questions to answer-and problems to solve-relating to probability, statistics, algebra and polynomials.
The following area schools will send students to this year's Mathcounts: Albert Lawton Intermediate School, Browns River Middle School, Colchester Middle School, Edmunds Middle School, Essex Middle School, Frederick Tuttle Middle School, Hinesburg Community School, Lamoille Union Middle School, Lyman C. Hunt Middle School, Mater Christi School, Missisquoi Valley Union Middle School, Saint Francis Xavier School, Shelburne Community School, and Williston Central School.
According to Dawn Densmore of UVM, Mathcounts targets students in these three grades for a reason: "Students are at a crucial stage in developing and sustaining interest and ability in mathematics that will ensure success for higher education and career opportunities in engineering and mathematics," she said.
Now entering its twenty-sixth year, Mathcounts brings regional industry sponsors onto the UVM campus. Industry representatives will be there for a reason; they are on the lookout for future employees-Vermont graduates with strong math skills.
In recent years, Mathcounts has received national kudos-the mind-expanding event has garnered top honors from both Republican (Bush) and Democrat (Clinton) presidents as an outstanding private-sector initiative.
This year's event is hosted by the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers. It will kick-off in the Billings Lecture Hall, noon-1 p.m., Feb. 14.
If your math-curious, here's a "pop quiz", the likes of which Mathcounts students will be asked to solve. So, just how math smart are you? Try to figure out the answer. The answers are found at the end of this article:
1. Margo walks to her friend's house in 10 minutes. Using the same route, it takes Margo 20 minutes to get back home. If her average walking rate for the entire trip is 4 miles per hour, how many total miles did she walk?
2. John has 5 quarters and David has 5 dimes. John owes David 35 cents. John should give David m quarters and John should get n dimes from David so that John has paid his debt exactly. What is the value of m+n?
3. Mary can read 100 pages per hour and Molly can read 50 pages per hour. If they each read the same book, and the book has 225 pages, how many more minutes than Mary would it take Molly to finish reading the book?
The top four teams at UVM will head to the statewide competition on Saturday, March 24, at Vermont Technical College. From there, the top four state teams will move on to the Raytheon Mathcounts National Competition in Orlando Fla., May 7-10.
Mathcounts sponsors are Raytheon Company, Northrop Grumman Foundation, National Society of Professional Engineers, CNA Foundation, Conoco Phillips, General Motors Foundation, Lockheed Martin, 3M Foundation and Texas Instruments Incorporated.
The National Society of Professional Engineers, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and CAN Foundation are the founding sponsors of Mathcounts.
•Answers to pop quiz: 1. 2 miles, 2. 7, and 3. 135 minutes.