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Young Students Develop Problem Solving Skills Through Math Contest

MMC photo
November 15, 2013 - San Marcos, TX
A few nights before Halloween, hundreds of young students across Texas were figuring out their trick-or-treating costumes.  A number of those students were also treating themselves to a handful of problem solving challenges by participating in the 2013 Mathworks Math Contest.  In its 13th year, the Mathworks Math Contest (MMC) gives opportunities to young students to develop their problem solving and creative thinking abilities.  The MMC is a free contest open to any interested middle school student.  The 2-hour test includes 15 open-ended questions with topics such as probability, geometry, algebra, and advanced problem solving.
There were 370 students from 34 schools across Texas and other states that participated in this year's MMC. The top 10 girls and top 10 boys in the MMC are recognized as Finalists and will receive a certificate for their achievement.  The top scoring students are:
  1. Elizabeth Guo, 8th grader, Dallas
  2. Claire Zhou, 7th grader, Sugarland
  3. Shreya Thipireddy, 8th grader, Houston
  4. Kristy Chang, 8th grader, Katy
  5. Hannah Liu, 8th grader, Katy
  6. Alicia Guo, 8th grader, Corpus Christi
  7. Linda Yu, 8th grader, Houston
  8. Bella Xu, 5th grader, Sugarland
  9. Angela Zhang, 7th grader, Austin
  10. Brittany Nguyen, 8th grader, Houston
  1. Andrew Lu, 8th grader, Austin
  2. Alex Liu, 8th grader, Houston
  3. Brian Liu, 8th grader, Pearland
  4. Mathew Chen, 8th grader, Houston
  5. Jonathan Shoemaker, 7th grader, Austin
  6. Vincent Huang, 7th grader, Plano
  7. Darren Huang, 7th grader, Plano
  8. Kevin Li, 8th grader, Austin
  9. Michael Tian, 8th grader, Katy
  10. Paschalis Economon, 8th grader, Houston
Top female scorer Elizabeth Guo said she finds particular satisfaction in challenging herself through math questions and notes, "I think that doing math is rewarding because it teaches you to work hard and persevere. It builds up your inner confidence, impels you to dive deeper in the hunt for knowledge, and arms you with skills you will use for the rest of your life."  Top male scorer Andrew Lu remarked, "I had to think critically about how to approach and solve each problem."

Out of all the students who took the test, 49% were 8th graders, 30% 7th graders, 19% 6th graders, and 2% 5th graders.  The average score on this year's test was a 3.2 out of 15.  Last year's average score was a 2.1.  The MMC is administered by Mathworks in October each year and the test questions are written by Texas State University math department faculty.  For more information about the Contest, please visit http://www.txstate.edu/mathworks/camps/pmwc.html 

Mathworks is a center for innovation in mathematics education at Texas State University. Our mission is to develop model programs and self-sustaining learning communities that engage Texas K-12 students from all backgrounds in doing mathematics at a high level.  Mathworks programs raise mathematics achievement for all students, while developing future leaders in science, engineering, and mathematics.