Math counts, and five IPA Middle school students showed how when they recently participated in the MathCounts Competition Series, competing in the virtual O’ahu Chapter Competition on February 5, 2021. This annual competition series has four levels of competition – Chapter, Chapter Invitational, State, and National – and each competition consists of several rounds of problem solving.
Middle school MathCounts team members (Diego Hernandez ‘25, Jaron Alarcon ‘27, Jinghao Li ‘26, Madeleine Arvman ‘25, Shastine Sirivattha ‘25, and Merlina Moerman ‘25) are dedicated and practice once a week, honing their problem-solving skills and speed with faculty advisor and Secondary Math teacher Dr. Linas Kalvaitis.
The extra-curricular program is part of the MathCounts Foundation, a national non-profit organization for students in grades 6-8, that strives to make learning math fun. The organization’s programs build problem solving skills and positive attitudes about math in middle school students, so they will overcome any fear of math and embrace challenges and expand their academic opportunities in the future.
For the virtual MathCounts Chapter Competition, the five students gathered together with Professor Kalvaitis over Zoom and competed individually in two rounds, the Sprint and Target rounds, which focus on speed/accuracy and problem-solving/mathematical reasoning, respectively. The problems they must solve come from different divisions of mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, quadratics, and word problems. The students worked diligently for a total of 90 minutes trying to solve as many problems as possible in the two rounds. Students are scored on the number of problems they solve correctly.
IPA performed well in the competition. Grade 8 student Jinghao Li ‘25 scored high enough in the Chapter Competition to advance to the Chapter Invitational Competition held February 25, 2021 and is awaiting the results of that competition, with the possibility of moving on to the State Competition in March. Madeleine Arvman ‘25 also performed well and just missed qualifying for the invitational.
“The Mathcounts Team is just a wonderful opportunity for Middle schoolers to sharpen their math problem solving skills while sharing in a community of people who love math,” shares Professor K. “The students are all eager to learn and understand math and generally have great attitudes about it.”