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College of Engineering Technology Hosts Successful MATHCOUNTS Event

pictureThe annual Woodbridge N. Ferris MATHCOUNTS event that was held at Ferris State University (Feb. 11) showed students that math can be fun.

The university’s College of Engineering Technology hosted more than 70 middle-school students who participated in the local competition inside the Rankin Student Center. Competition winners advanced to the state-level competition. State-level success can lead to the national MATHCOUNTS competition.

Perhaps most important of all, however, the competition was an opportunity Ferris provided for young students to gain confidence in their math skills, compete and have fun at the same time.

“The competition teaches students to excel in critical thinking, and to be able to use higher math skills in a thinking ‘on your feet’ atmosphere,” said Larry Schult, interim associate dean of Plastics Engineering Technology and the MATHCOUNTS ceremonial representative.

During the competition students were asked a series of individual questions and participated in group work. All tasks had to be completed in a timely fashion in order to continue. The math tasks were incorporated into creative activities such as Jeopardy and a countdown round.

“The Society of Professional Engineers, the sponsor of the national competition, believes it is important for students to be interested in math, science and engineering,” said Tom Hollen, a judge of MATHCOUNTS and an associate professor of Energy Systems Engineering at Ferris.

Hollen believes the program is beneficial for the students involved to sharpen their math skills in a competitive setting. He added that some of the problems students had to solve were “really tough.”

Big Rapids Middle School, Crossroads Charter Academy, McBain Middle School, Morley Stanwood Middle School, St. Peters Lutheran and Vestaburg Middle School were among the schools competing in the event.

Students also took part in creating their own footballs in the National Elastomer Center and were provided with lunch in Westview Dining Center.

The event was sponsored by the College of Engineering Technology and the division of Student Affairs.

MATHCOUNTS is a national movement designed to strengthen America’s global competitiveness in math. The goal of MATHCOUNTS is to inspire excellence, confidence and curiosity in U.S. middle school students through fun and challenging math programs. Learn more about MATHCOUNTS.