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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Middle Schoolers Compete in Regional Math Bee

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Alright, see if you can answer this: A Square measures 6 cm on each side. If three interior segments divide the square into two congruent trapezoids and an isosceles triangle, all of equal area, what is the length of the shortest segment connecting the two trapezoids?

Don’t worry, I didn’t get it either. But that was the question of the week for middle-schoolers preparing for this year’s Mathcounts competitions going on across the country.

“It’s basically a math bee similar to a spelling bee.”

That’s Jim Kirkwood, an organizer and member of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers. They are the hosts of Michigan’s Southwest regional competition, which involved 11 schools and 84 students.

“It’s all kinds of math, it’s binomials, quadratic equations, negative numbers…”

“My name is Benjamin Furness, I’m in 7th grade and I’m 12 years old. I’m here to do math counts.” “…X and Y axis and square roots.”

“…I don’t know if I’m going to make the top ten, but I’m planning to at least watch it.”

Beyond the joy students may get from watching or participating, Kirkwood says the winner of the competition gets a $1000 in scholarship from Grand Valley State University and moves on to state and potentially nationals. The last listed winner on the Mathcounts Foundation website for West Michigan is 7th-grader Daphne Yaman. 

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