Peet MathCounts team advances to State

“[The best] part of Math Counts is the competitions because it allows us to show what we’ve learned as well as compete with others for the top spot,” Eric Lucas, an 8th grader and participant of Math Counts at Peet, said. “MathCounts has obviously helped us become better at math, but it has also improved our teamwork and problem solving abilities.”

The national math competition called MathCounts is for students in grades six through eight.  There are four parts to the competition called the sprint round, target round, team round and countdown round.

The sprint round is when the students solve 30 problems in 40 minutes with no calculator and test accuracy.

The target round is where students solve eight problems that are presented to them in four pairs and have six minutes for each pair of problems.  The students may use a calculator for this section and the multiple step problems are designed to engage mathletes in the mathematical reasoning and problem-solving process.

The team round is the section where four students work together to solve 10 problems in 20 minutes. The use of calculators is allowed for this round as well.

Finally the top 10 students compete in the countdown round. In this section the students compete in the speed round to answer the questions the fastest and before their opponent finishes. The students are not allowed to use calculators.

The Peet MathCounts team and individuals came home Feb. 15 from their successful competition at Regionals at Hawkeye Community College.

This year the group consists of Eric Lucas, Sean Radke, Ed Lin and Elliot Purdum who make up the team, Hannah Batterson and Sharini Rao who compete as individuals, and Mary Watson and Sarah Cooper who are the coaches of the group.

The group first completed a school competition in January that determined who would be on the team and who would be competing as an individual. Over the past weeks the group has gotten together for practices one day every week to prepare for future competitions. The students and coaches discussed possible solution, strategies and topics that aren’t taught in the traditional classroom and help to expand the students’ knowledge of problem solving.

“[It’s] great for students to get to spend time with other students that also enjoy math and solving problems. The students become better problem solvers and learn new ways to attempt difficult problems. They get to do some creative problems and learn about topics that we don’t have time to teach in the regular math curriculum,” Watson said.

Following their most recent success of getting second place as a team, Lin placed second as an individual, and Lucas placed 10th as an individual at Hawkeye Community College. The team will be going to the state competition on March 29.

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