Written by  Mayur Gangala

Thirteen students from the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing Math Team participated in the Great Plains Math League Missouri State Championship, held on the Campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The competition was attended by over 25 schools from all over the state and consisted of five different events: Power Round, Team Round, Sprint round, Target Round, and Team Relays.

The Missouri Academy students won the following awards:

  •  11th Grade Target Round: Ruidi Cao – 3rd place
  •  12th Grade Target Round: Jinwoo Choi – 4th place
  •  11th Grade Sprint Round:  Ruidi Cao – 1st place
  •  12th Grade Sprint Round: Jinwoo Choi – 3rd place
  •  Sprint Round Overall: Ruidi Cao – 3rd place

Team Round:

Rudi Cao – 2nd place;

Jinwoo Choi, Sunmin Lee, Enrico Calvanese, Anzumaan Chakraborty, Irene Hung and Heehoon Lee – 10th place

Relay Round: Jinwoo Choi, Ruidi Cao and WonJun Yoon – 6th place

Overall:  Missouri Academy – 2nd place overall with 222.5 points

More than just winning awards, these competitions provide students with opportunities that they don’t traditionally get inside a classroom setting. Competitions like these provide students with an opportunity to challenge their curiosity and enhance their problem solving skills. Students also get a chance to recognize and be recognized as problem solvers. The unusual nature of the problems in these competitions helps students explore problems that are not normally encountered in a classrooms and hence helps with understand the subject better. The team events help students learn the importance of team work and helps them learn how to prioritize, given the time constraints in these event.  Watching these students during the team rounds is just like watching an athletic team, where all members work together to get the most points for their team by utilizing each other’s strengths and by putting the needs of the team ahead of their personal goals. The students need to communicate with each other’s to be successful, but also recognize what needs to be done to achieve an outcome that is best for the team.

Competitions like these help students succeed in STEM fields in a variety of ways. Students learn the importance of working in a team and trusting others. They also learn how to problem solve, not just individually, but also as a team.  While classroom knowledge can help students how to solve problems, competitions like these help students to discover alternative solutions to the same problem and broaden the way they look at different situations.

All 13 Missouri Academy student qualified for the 17th Annual League Championship, which was held at Kansas City North Community Center on Friday, May 13, 2016.

This article was written by Mayur Gangala, a Residential Counselor at the Missouri Academy.

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