Thursday February 27, 2014
Four outstanding students from Tuttle Middle School won the Northwest Regional MATHCOUNTS Competition February 9 at UVM, which means another return to the state championship competition in late March. The F. H. Tuttle Middle School Team that took first place includes students Liam Lustberg, Regulan Sivakumar, Helen Wang, and Kailey Yang who have been coached by teacher John Radimer. Most of the team were part of last year’s winning MathCounts team.
Three of the Tuttle team members were also individual winners: 1st place, Regulan Sivakumar; 2nd place, Kailey Yang and 3rd place, Helen Wang. Yang was additionally the 2nd place winner in the Countdown Round and Liam Lustberg received an Honorable Mention.
At this regional event, approximately 120 students from 13 middle schools competed individually and in teams, in written and fast-paced oral formats, on subjects that include probability, statistics, algebra and geometry. The excitement culminated in a dramatic single-elimination tournament during the Countdown Round where the top 12 students competed against each other and the clock in front of an enthusiastic audience. The UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers (VSPE) sponsor this annual contest.
In the school team results Essex Middle School placed second; Camel’s Hump Middle School placed third and Lyman C Hunt Middle School placed fourth.
For the State Championship, the top sixteen teams in the state, plus the next top four individuals from each region that don’t make it as a team, are invited. For South Burlington, this means that Tuttle has two other boys, Carleton Plourde and Steven Li, who have qualified. And according to Coach Radimer, there may be two other girls, Trang Do and Sydney Ferro, who may also qualify.
Now that the regional contest has been won, these students are preparing for the State Championship. Coach Radimer provided this summary on how the students will prepare for the competition and what special skills and strategies they practice.
Training for the State Competition
Once a week the students do a practice test from years past. First they have a series of 30 questions which they must answer without a calculator, in 40 minutes (the Sprint Round). Then they get 8 questions in groups of two which they must answer, with a calculator, in 6 minutes (the Target Round.)
The Team Round consists of 10 questions which the students work on together with calculators, and they are given twenty minutes. The rest of the week the coach and team go over answers and determine strategies for solving them. Coach Radimer says ,“I will also go over tricks I have learned over the years such as multiplying large numbers mentally or finding the average of several numbers mentally.”
On Fridays, the team practices Countdown Round problems. This is the only part that is interesting to an audience. It is set up like a twelve team tournament, except with individual students. The winners advance and in the final round must answer three questions correctly before their opponent does. They are not allowed to use a calculator.
The top teams and individuals from each of the VT Regional Competitions - Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Northeast - will compete in the Vermont MATHCOUNTS Statewide Competition Saturday, March 29 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The top 4 individuals from the State Competition will form the Vermont team which will travel to the 2014 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition in Orlando, FL, May 8-11, 2014.
“The mathematical abilities of Vermont’s middle school students are truly inspiring,” says Joe Kudrle, MATHCOUNTS NW Coordinator and Lecturer in the UVM CEMS Department of Mathematics and Statistics (also a sponsor of the Northwest Competition).