The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 2, 2013

Math skills are put to the test

JOHNSTOWN — Middle school pupils will be putting on their thinking caps when they compete in the local chapter of the national MathCounts program.

The competition, which is organized by the Johnstown chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, will be held Saturday at Pitt-Johnstown and is designed to improve math skills among U.S. youth.

A total of 16 schools and 130 pupils have registered for the event.

Schools participating include Berlin Brothersvalley, Blairsville, Chestnut Ridge, Conemaugh Township, Everett Area, Ferndale Area, Forest Hills, Holy Name, Our Mother of Sorrows, Rockwood Area, St. Benedict, St. Michael, Saltsburg, Somerset Area, Westmont Hilltop and Windber Area.

“The idea is to make math fun,” said Amy Miller, coordinator of the regional competition and associate professor of mechanical engineering technology at UPJ.

“It’s helping students to excel not only in the engineering

field, but in the maths and sciences.”

Pupils will compete individually and as a team in written and fast-paced oral matches in subjects such as algebra, probability, statistics and geometry.

“There are some very bright students who come through the competition and most have not had algebra or trigonometry, but the level they compete at is amazing,” Miller said.

The top winning individual will receive a $500 scholarship from UPJ.

Winners will receive trophies and advance to the state MathCounts finals in Harrisburg on March 23.

Miller gives a lot of credit to the pupils who come out on a Saturday morning to do math, but said they also are pupils who want to succeed academically.

“I hope this will give them more confidence when doing math and realize it’s nothing to fear,” she said.

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