Summing up success in Math Bowls

The Math Freaks team has no problem having fun while solving math problems. 

KPBSD students learned that math plus competition adds up to excitement in the middle and elementary school Math Bowls held at the end of the year.

The sixth annual Middle School Math Bowl was held at Homer Middle School on April 1, with 84 students from Homer, Soldotna and Kenai middle schools, the Connections program, Aurora Borealis Charter School, River City Academy, and Soldotna Montessori Charter, Chapman, Nikolaevsk and Ninilchik schools.

Drake Thomas, Brennan Werner, James Oglesbee and Cody Quelland are Infinity Pi, from Soldotna Montessori Charter School, the winning team of the Elementary Math Bowl. 

This wasn’t just math, it was math in a hurry — with no calculators allowed in the sprint or countdown rounds. Students heard a series of complex questions, buzzed in when they had a solution and shouted out the answers. A 40-minute sprint round started the competition, with 30 word problems requiring knowledge of prime numbers, Pythagoras’ Theorem, proportions, linear equations and basic geometry formulas.

Next was a 30-minute target round, posing a series of multi-step problems, followed by a team round allowing 20 minutes to solve 10 problems. After a lunch break — to fuel up on brain fuel — the top 12-scoring students from the sprint and target rounds competed head to head in the countdown round. A problem was read and students had 45 second to solve it. The first student to answer two questions correctly advanced to the next round, until the last student standing was declared the winner.

Drake Thomas, of Soldotna Montessori, was the overall winner of the sprint-target round, and Allison Ostrander, from Aurora Borealis, was the winner of the countdown round.

Younger students got their chance to compete in the ninth annual Elementary Math Bowl held in Seward on May 5. In that event, 35 teams of fourth- through sixth-grades from 10 schools participated.

Dr. Steve Atwater, KPBSD superintendent, and school board members Bill Holt and Lynn Hohl crunch numbers in the Elementary Math Bowl as the honorary team The Golden Numbers. 

Students showed their smarts in three events — math skills, team problem solving and lightning rounds. They also learned that an interest in math and the excitement of solving problems could be carried into adulthood.

Seated at one of the tables was an honorary team, the Three Golden Numbers, made up of Dr. Steve Atwater, KPBSD superintendent, and Lynn Hohl and Bill Holt, KPBSD Board of Education members.

“It was great to see how well the teams worked together to solve the problems. It was immediately clear to me that the students were in much better ‘math shape’ than the Three Golden Numbers,” Atwater said.

The first-place team was Infinity Pi, from Soldotna Montessori School. Second- and third-place teams were Math Mega-Bites from Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science and The Liters from Soldotna Elementary.