Top U.S. math teams hail from Bemidji
BEMIDJI - Eighth-graders at Bemidji Middle School are making a name for their school.
After competing on March 7 in World Maths Day, an online math competition, two teams from the middle school placed first and second in the United States in the 11-13 age bracket.
"Team 13" had 33,894 correct answers and finished 21st in the world in the 11-13 age category and was the highest placing team in America.
"Team 14" had 22,573 correct answers and finished 46th in the world in the 14-18 age category and was the second highest placing team in the United States.
During a recognition ceremony Thursday at the school, students received a medal and some received individual prizes.
The World Maths Day website, www.worldmathsday.com, was designed to encourage people of all ages to participate in math using an online approach. This year, more than 1.5 million students from more than 200 countries took part in the competition.
Last year, the middle school team ranked 11th worldwide in their age bracket.
Many eighth-graders at the school participated in the event this year, however, two teams of students were selected after a tryout was held.
On March 7, the two teams spent the day in the school's computer lab answering math questions - without using calculators or paper - through the World Maths Day website.
Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 50 games, earning points for each correct answer. If a student answers three questions incorrectly, they're out, but they can start right away on a new race. Students cannot select their level but move up as they progress.
As they play, students can see who they are playing against and where their competitor is from.
Student Charlie Peterson said this was his favorite part about the competition.
"It was fun," he said. "You got to compete with your classmates. There's a scoreboard and you could see which classmate was scoring the highest."
Teacher Mary Kobilka, who helps coordinate the World Maths Day event at the school, said she can see how individual students performed on the math questions. She even has her own Hall of Fame for her math students.
At the recognition ceremony, Principal Drew Hildenbrand told students learning math was important for many reasons beyond a score on an exam.
"I know every one of you worked to improve your math skills," he said. "Math is a language of money. If you want money some day, you better figure out math."
Students on "Team 13" were Charity Veaux, Shelby Avenson, Anna McLean, Nick Staples, Katlyn Kampmeier, Hannah Gregg, Charlie Peterson, Anna Eriksson, John Seelye, Jenna Mellema, BJ Curtis, Austin Nordstrom, Gannon Strain, Morgan Williams, Taylor Nord, Josh Lusby, Billy Nelson, Nickhil Gupta, Katie Krotzer, Katie Sanford, Brylee Colligan and Dan Burgess.
Students on "Team 13" who received awards were:
-- Highest point total: McLean, first place, Gregg, second place, Avenson, third place.
-- Highest score: McLean, first place, Avenson, second place, Nordstrom, third place.
-- Average improvement: Sanford, first place, Lusby, second place, Veaux and Colligan, third place.
Students on "Team 14" were Ethan Halvorson, Britton Kleeb, Jalin Rose, Cole Hartje, Zack Seitz, MacKinsey Fugli, Nick Schultz, Brandon Reynolds, Jack Dockendorf, Zach Mans, Mackenzie Page, Sydney Hinrichs, Kyle Leskiw, Katie Buckanaga, Kalli Keckeisen, Sheila LaRue, Bridget Spychalla, Lauren Rickers, Tyler McNamara, Kayli Holcomb, Logan Hatfield and Noah Holter.
Students on "Team 14" who received awards were:
-- Highest point total: Seitz, first place, Hartje, second place, Keeb, third place.
-- Highest score: Seitz, first place, Halverson, second place, Kleeb, third place.
-- Most improved: Holcomb, first place, Page, second place, Seitz, third place.