Hickman math honor society holds math competition for middle schoolers

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Photos by Sara Johnson




The Hickman High School math honor society Mu Alpha Theta held its third Kewpie Math Classic on Saturday, April 9. The Kewpie Math Classic is a math competition for Columbia students in sixth through eighth grades.

Registration for the competition is free. Mu Alpha Theta sponsor Deanna Wasman said they tried using it as a fundraiser one year but didn’t have a good response.

“Now it’s our service project,” Wasman said. “Bake sales are our fundraisers.”

Hickman math teacher Cheryl Lightner said they started the competition because they “saw a gap” after the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics moved their middle school math contest to Springfield.

“We want to promote having fun with math,” Wasman said.

Participants completed a written math test during the first hour of the competition. While the results were tabulated, students participated in other math activities including a Rubik’s Cube Contest, Sudoku Contest, Pi Recitation or Math Jeopardy and Math Trail.

Students from nine Columbia-area schools and one home-schooler competed in the event for a total of 63 registered competitors. The schools represented were:

Gentry Middle School
Lange Middle School
Smithton Middle School
Southern Boone Middle School
Jefferson Junior High School
West Junior High School
Christian Fellowship School
Columbia Catholic School
Columbia Independent School

Smithton had 31 students register, almost half the total number of participants. Southern Boone and Columbia Independent tied for the second highest number of students registered with seven each.

Members of the Hickman chapter of Mu Alpha Theta planned and ran the competition, with 36 members volunteering for the event.

Hickman students must have a 3.0 grade point average in math and a 3.5 GPA overall and be enrolled in a third-year math course to be invited to be a part of Mu Alpha Theta. Members offer tutoring and an ACT prep course as well as compete in a national math contest. They are required to complete eight hours of service a semester.

The overall top score for the written test was Priscilla Liow, a home-schooled seventh-grader. The top three scores for each grade were:

Sixth grade: Richard Shang, Phil Me and Stephanie Zhang, all of Smithton

Seventh grade: Yurim Lee and Hannah Chen, Smithton; and Priscilla Liow, home-schooled

Eighth grade: Kassie Rankin and Zijian Chen, West; and Suryanshi Rawat, Jefferson

Participants in the Sudoku Contest were given nine puzzles to complete, four easy, three medium, one hard and one difficult. Kassie Rankin, an eighth-grader from West, won the competition.

Six students competed in the Rubik’s Cube Contest. Marco Potes, a seventh-grader from Southern Boone, won the contest by having the best two out of three times to complete the Rubik’s Cube. His best time was one minute seven seconds. Aaron Oleson, a seventh-grader from Smithton, had the best overall time. He completed the Rubik’s cube in 57 seconds.

Eight students were part of the Pi Recitation Contest. They recited as many digits of pi as they could remember and were stopped when they first got a digit wrong. David Song, a sixth-grader from Smithton, recited 301 digits to win the competition. He said he began memorizing pi two weeks ago.

Four teams competed in the Math Jeopardy in a tournament-style bracket, answering questions in categories including algebra, vocabulary and famous mathematicians. The final two teams in the competition were Team 2 and Team 3. Although Team 2 had 4 members and Team 3 had 2 members, the score was close throughout the round.

Zijian Chen of West, Inu Choi of Smithton, Andrew Dove of Columbia Catholic and Timofey Kolenikov of Columbia Independent were in Team 2. Sarah Bai and Hannah Chen of Smithton represented Team 3.

Both teams wagered all their points on final jeopardy and almost tied for 0 because neither team had the correct answer in its entirety. Team 3 was determined the winner because Sarah and Hannah answered part of the “Final Jeopardy” correctly.


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