Competitions are pivotal part of learning mathematics and mathematics is important for us as a nation to be competitive in the 21st century economy.
Over the years the writer of this article have been involved with mathematics competitions – starting as a young participant continuing by working on committees of existing mathematics competitions, founding the Maine Mathematics Science and Engineering Talent Search Program (MMSETS) and working on the American Mathematics Competition – the longest running, and most prestigious competition of the US. In 2005 I received the University of Maine 2005 Educator Recognition Award for Programming Excellence for creating MMSETS, an interactive classroom and web based mathematical problem challenge program available for students.
One of my recent achievements is that Maine Colleges and Universities started to host the American Mathematics Competition on college/university campuses. In this academic year we have added two more institutes of higher education to the list in the State of Maine: The Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and the University of Fort Kent in Fort Kent. “Hosting” the AMC competition implies, that the hosting institution is paying the registration fee (and often the competition booklets) and all students from the area (within the qualifying age group) are invited to come and participate in the competition.
In the St John Valley, UMFK paid the registration for the competition and the competition booklets were paid from community support. The students from FKCHS and Valley Rivers Middle School and the students from Wisdom Middle School and High school expressed interest to participate.
For these competitions the participation starts with preparation. I have visited both schools, explained the purpose and the rules of the competition as well as lead problem solving for both schools. Starting in mid-December the students received challenge problems to take home, work on it and submit their solutions and/or questions that were connected to the problems.
On February 4th we had the competition at UMFK – Scott Vosine was the Contest Manager and Eva Szillery and Jennifer Parizo was present in the two rooms at UMFK to follow the rules of the competition.
It took more than two weeks to receive the results of the students, because all competition materials are sent to the national headquarters of the American mathematics competitions and uniformly evaluated by computer for several hundred thousand participants.
The results of the individual students are confidential, but the schools receive the statistics and with the consent of the winners for the two age group we are allowed to publish their results: Congratulation to your schools on behalf of these students – it would be an honor to them if you’d congratulate them. Later in the school year they will receive some pins and certificates from AMC and we may buy some books to them.
Thank you, and congratulations to you on behalf of your students:
RESULTS OF AMC 12A 2014 FOR STUDENTS PARTICIPATING AT UMFK
WINNER TAYLOR HOBBS (Wisdom Middle School/High School St Agatha)
SECOND NOAH H. DUBAY (Fort Kent Community High School)
THIRD JARED A. MICHAUD (Fort Kent Community High School)
RESULTS OF AMC 10A 2014 FOR STUDENTS PARTICIPATING AT UMFK
WINNER SHANA L. PARADIS (Wisdom Middle School/High School St Agatha)
SECOND JACOB M. TRUE (Wisdom Middle School/High School St Agatha)
THIRD CHARLES PARHAM (Fort Kent Community High School)and ANNIE I. OUELLETTE (Wisdom Middle School/High School St Agatha)*
*The students have the same score
Congratulations to these students, and the schools working with them.
– While we were eagerly waiting for the scores to come back, I wrote a grant
with Wisdom Middle School and High School to expand the work in problem solving in other areas. It will take time to get back the outcome of those grant proposal.
I wrote another proposal on behalf of the students to IEEE, to receive a transportation cost grant for the students of the Wisdom Middle School and High School to come to Orono and see the Engineering Week Expo on March 22nd (organized by the Maine Engineering Promotion Council). We hope, that the students will become part of the exhibit by building modular origami with us and explain to other visitors what are those constructions and how they were build and the importance of those for engineering and architecture.
We have received this grant. Students from St Agatha are coming to the Engineering Week Expo on March 22nd. – I hope, that in the future even more schools will participate, the students will learn the delight on solving hard problems and they will understand on deeper and deeper level that problem solving is the core of so many areas where they could work in their future.
I will close by reporting a wonderful news for a student from Presque Isle, who has been participating in the AMC Competition at UMPI ever since he was 7th grade. John Freeman, a junior in high school who participated in AMC 12 at UMPI advanced to the AIME Competition (the American Invitational Mathematics Examination) – where 2.5% of the AMC Competition participants are selected. John Freeman finished in the 2.5% – he will participate in the AIME Competition on March 14th – a three hours competition. The top performers of AIME are eligible to participate in the US mathematical Olympiad.
Eva Szillery PhD
In 2005 Eva Szillery received the University of Maine 2005 Educator Recognition Award for Programming Excellence for creating MMSETS, an interactive classroom and web based mathematical problem challenge program available for students The award states that “Her [i.e. Eva Szillery] enthusiastic approach to mathematics in and out of the classroom and her ability to intrigue and inspire students of all ages is inspiring. She provides a role model for students and faculty alike”.