‘Mathletes’ compete at district finals

Sheri Byrd, Story and photo
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***“The sum of the first N positive odd numbers is 121. What is the value of N?”
Soren Scott, Ramstein American Middle School eighth-grader, hit the red buzzer and correctly answered the question, “11,” winning the final countdown round of the Kaiserslautern school district MATHCOUNTS competition, Feb. 23 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club. Fourteen teams of four “mathlete” students each from eight middle schools gathered to test, discuss and buzz their way to mathematical victory. AFNorth International High School, participated electronically due to hazardous road conditions.

“MATHCOUNTS is a national program, providing the training and practice materials to participating coaches, who are teachers of grades six to eight,” said Thomas Whitney, Kaiserslautern district Mathematics curriculum liaison and host of the competition. “We also had volunteers from the local chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers as scorers and timers.”

Students competed individually and as teams in written and fast-paced oral matches. Subjects included algebra, probability, statistics and geometry. Each school provided one official team of four, and was allowed to bring two additional individual competitors and other exhibition teams.

MATHCOUNTS competitions consist of four rounds: sprint round, target round, team round and countdown round. 

The final individual rankings are based on the sprint and target rounds. The sprint round consists of 30 questions, in up to 40 minutes. The target round, also an individual event, consists of four pairs of questions. The students may use calculators and are allowed six minutes per pair of questions. 

The team round consists of 10 questions and the students have 20 minutes, are allowed to work together and may use calculators. The team ranking is based on all three rounds.

In the countdown round the top 10 individuals, based on the sprint and target rounds, were paired in oral competition until first place was taken by Soren.

The top individuals and teams will advance to the Department of Defense Dependent Schools worldwide competition, which takes place electronically from each school. The winners could potentially go to the national finals in Detroit in May, traditionally broadcast on ESPN.

The top two teams competing in the DODDS competition are: from LEMS, Joseph Craver (7), Michael Fisher (7), Robbie Knetsche (7), and Young Lee (7); from RAMS, Sam Baker (8), Erik Kingsley (7), Hayden Morris (7), and Soren Scott (8).
Advancing individuals are Jimmy Martin (8, LEMS) and Soren Scott (8, RAMS).