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State's Top Young Problem Solvers Competing For Scholarships, Honors at Indiana MATHCOUNTS

Friday, March 11, 2016

Young Problem Solvers: Middle school students from throughout Indiana will answer problems in three rounds of competition, testing individual and team-working skills.

More than 220 eighth-, seventh- and sixth-grade students from 48 Indiana schools will answer problems in three rounds of competition testing individual and team-working skills. Then, the top 24 students will showcase their speed and accuracy in a game show-type Countdown Round.

The top six schools will receive team awards. The top four students will make up Indiana's team that will compete in the national MATHCOUNTS finals May 7-10 in Washington, DC.

Indiana won last year's national finals and an Indiana middle school student has been the nation's top individual champion in three of the past nine years.

"Indiana has some of the best young minds in the country, and MATHCOUNTS is just one academic competition that showcases those outstanding students," says Rose-Hulman Mathematics Professor Elton Graves, who is helping organize this year's state competition. "Youths that compete in MATHCOUNTS have gone on to become Indiana's 'Mr./Miss Math', 'Mr./Miss Science', and compete on the U.S. team in the International Mathematics Olympiad."

Rose-Hulman will present $5,000 in renewable scholarships for the top male and female student finishers. Purdue University will award the top 10 competing students with a four-year, partial ($2,000) scholarship to study engineering, science, or math at Purdue.

The first three rounds of the Indiana MATHCOUNTS competition will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the field house area of Rose-Hulman's Sports and Recreation Center. The Countdown Round will be in the Hatfield Hall Theater, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Schools that historically have done well in the state competition include the Sycamore School, from Indianapolis; Honey Creek Middle School, from Terre Haute; West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School, from West Lafayette; Creekside, Clay, and Carmel middle schools, from Carmel; Seymour Middle School, from Seymour; and Schmucker Middle School, from Mishawaka.

Indiana MATHCOUNTS contest coordinators are professional engineers Patricia J. Behrens and Gary S. Staats. Other ISPE members and college professors serve as regional contest coordinators, and employees from Raytheon will be contest volunteers.

MATHCOUNTS was developed to improve math literacy in middle schools, and as a way to make parents, educators, and the public aware of career opportunities in mathematics. The program impacts these student "mathletes" at an age when they are formulating attitudes about math and technology, and encourages them to pursue careers in science, engineering, and mathematics.