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MATHCOUNTS competition to be hosted at CSU-Pueblo

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Colorado State University- Pueblo
Colorado State University- Pueblo will host MATHCOUNTS on Feb. 16. Photo courtesy of ndmathcounts.org

It’ll be a number-crunching kind of competition, as Colorado State University- Pueblo hosts the 2013 MATHCOUNTS Southern Colorado Chapter competition on Feb. 16.

14 teams from Southern Colorado middle schools will compete in the competition, with eight teams from Pueblo, Colo.

MATHCOUNTS provides fun and exciting math programs for middle school students to increase their academic and professional opportunities, as well as heighten student interest in mathematics.

For 30 years, MATHCOUNTS has been one of the most successful educational programs in the United States. The program as been recognized by former Presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald W. Reagan and by current President, Barack Obama.

Every year over 250,000 students use MATHCOUNTS materials, since the program began in 1983.  Since the beginning, over 6 million students have participated in the program.

The Coalition of Pueblo Engineers sponsors the event throughout the year.

Luis Maal, a member of COPE has been involved with MATHCOUNTS since his oldest son was in middle school. For the past three years he has been the Southern Colorado coordinator for the MATHCOUNTS program.

Maal provides direction from the beginning of the school year until the state competition.

“As a father and as an engineer, I know that MATHCOUNTS provides a fun, challenging, and exciting program for middle school students to increase their academic interest for math,” Maal said.

Maal believes that the program builds math skills, promotes logical thinking and sharpens students’ analytical abilities.

MATHCOUNTS is more than a competition; it involves students and teachers all year for coaching sessions and helps students on all levels to improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

The MATHCOUNTS Competition Program provides the extra incentive and the perfect atmosphere for students to push themselves to achieve more in mathematics.

Competitions have written and oral rounds, as well as individual and team components.

Though challenging and non-routine, the competition problems focus on the sixth through eighth grade standards of the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics.

Schools select students to compete individually or as part of a team in one of more than 500 written and oral competitions held nationwide and in United States schools overseas.

The first competitions are held at the local level in February with winners progressing to state competitions in March.

The competition consists of up to four different rounds. The Sprint Round, which is 40 minutes long and has 30 problems, testing their accuracy. Only the most capable students will complete all of the problems in the given time.

The Target Round that features multi step problems that engage mathletes in mathematical reasoning and problem solving processes.

The Team Round consists of 10 problems that team member’s work together to solve.

The Countdown Round is the last round. It is a fast paced, oral competition for top scoring individuals where pairs of Mathletes compete against each other and the clock to solve problems.

MATCHOUNTS is a different way for students’ to be introduced to science, technology, engineering and mathematics Maal said.

“If every middle school in Southern Colorado would have the principal, a teacher or a volunteer to coach those students as part of daily class instruction or as an extracurricular activity, I am sure more schools and students will be willing to participate,” Maal said.