Sunday, March 3, 2013

M3 Challenge 2013

This blog started out as an outlet for me to record the happenings of my life as I continue to wait for my Cubs to declare that this year is finally the year.

Until that declaration is made, I continue to wait.

Posts have been a little heavy on the baseball side of ledger as of later, so let's switch gears.

I give you Moody's Mega Math Challenge!

I was the sponsor of two teams which were each comprised of five upperclassmen.  Each team worked out of a separate classroom at my high school for this internet-based mathematics research problem.

Last year's problem was about the feasibility of constructing a nationwide high speed rail to strengthen the infrastructure and economy of our nation.  It's too early to discuss this year's subject matter, but you can check out the M3 website if you're interested: click here.

The students were given a fourteen hour window to answer the challenge question to the best of their ability. 

Naturally, you can't squeeze fourteen hours of math in one day unless you start early.  So I set up the teacher's lounge with bagels, fruit, and juice for breakfast.

My official title was "coach", but I wasn't allowed to help the students.  I basically checked in on them periodically to make sure they were having a good go of it.

I was also the food provider.   Besides bagels for breakfast, I set out sub sandwiches for lunch and toted in pizza for dinner. 

One of the students baked snickerdoodles the night before to share during the competition.   A little slice of heaven in cookie form!  Nice!

The day was fun for all involved.

Both teams were able to upload their answer papers, which contained a summary page, table of contents, charts, graphs, and citation page.  They seemed proud of what they had done and they're very curious to find out how their efforts will place against the other 1,279 teams in the competition.  If they place within the top ten they are flown out to New York to present their paper and possibly win scholarship money. 

The best part of the experience for me was when I heard one of the groups discussing derivatives when I meandered to grab some work to do from my desk.  We have been focusing on derivatives and antiderivatives all year long in Calculus!  It made me smile to know that they were actually using what I had taught them.

Yes, I'm a math nerd.  Carry on.

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