Math bee: where word problems rule

 
 Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Students who placed first by grade level in the Madison County Math Bee were: (from left) Travis Brenneman, fifth grade, Norwood Elementary, Jefferson Local Schools; Clay Troyer, sixth grade, Canaan Middle School, Jonathan Alder Local Schools; Tyler Karkut, seventh grade, Jonathan Alder Junior High; and tied for the top eighth-grade spots, Kara Seidenstricker and Ben Rohrig, both of Jonathan Alder Junior High.

 
Fifth-grade winners in the Madison County Math Bee were: (from left) first place—Travis Brenneman, Norwood Elementary, Jefferson Local Schools; second-place tie—Tim Babyak and Phillip Seidenstricker, both of Canaan Middle School, Jonathan Alder Local Schools; third place tie—Yasha Shatalov, Norwood Elementary, and David Salzler, Canaan Middle School. 
 
Sixth-grade winners in the Madison County Math Bee were: (from left) first place—Clay Troyer, Canaan Middle School; second place—Nick Beachy, Canaan Middle School; third place—Dillon Miller, Canaan Middle School.
 
Seventh-grade winners in the Madison County Math Bee were: (from left) first place—Tyler Karkut, Jonathan Alder Junior High; second place—Natalie Squires, Jonathan Alder Junior High; third-place tie—Paul Meier, Madison-Plains Middle School, and Nick Smith, Jonathan Alder Junior High.
 
Eighth-grade winners in the Madison County Math Bee were: (from left) first place tie—Ben Rohrig and Kara Seidenstricker, both of Jonathan Alder Junior High; second place—Susie Kessler, Madison-Plains Middle School; third-place tie—Connor Longworth, Jonathan Alder Junior High, and Mackenzie Walters, Madison-Plains Middle School.

“You are 3/8th of the way across a high bridge that is one mile long. If your life depends on it, you can sprint at 10 miles per hour. Indeed, your life does depend on it, because you look behind you and see a train coming. If you run back to the beginning of the bridge, you will jump out of the way just as the train reaches the bridge. If you keep going across the bridge, you will reach the end of the bridge just as the train reaches the end of the bridge. How fast is the train going?”

For most, a word problem like this conjures up nightmares of torturous math homework. For participants in the Madison County Math Bee, numeric brain teasers are a welcome challenge. In fact, this exact problem was one of 21 on the eighth-grade test.

On April 14, over 100 fifth- through eighth-graders met at Tolles Career & Technical Center near Plain City to take a one-hour test. Each grade level took a different 21-question test.

To qualify for the county contest, participants competed against their peers at their respective schools. School districts involved in the event were Jefferson Local Schools, Jonathan Alder Local Schools, Madison-Plains Local Schools and St. Patrick School.

Each of the top three placers at the county received a plaque. Additionally, each first-place winner received a monetary award.

The Leon Garrette family established the award for the eighth-grade winner in Mr. Garrette’s memory. The awards for the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade winners are provided through a scholarship established by Dr. Fred and Susan Kindig. Mrs. Kindig was a teacher and supervisor in Madison County; she organized the math contest for many years.

The top placers in the 2008 contest are as follows:

Fifth grade

First place—Travis Brenneman, Nor-wood Elementary, Jefferson Local Schools

Second place tie—Tim Babyak and Phillip Seidenstricker, both of Canaan Middle School, Jonathan Alder Local Schools

Third place tie—Yasha Shatalov, Norwood Elementary, and David Salzler, Canaan Middle School

Sixth grade

First place—Clay Troyer, Canaan Middle School

Second place—Nick Beachy, Canaan Middle School

Third place—Dillon Miller, Canaan Middle School

Seventh grade

First place—Tyler Karkut, Jonathan Alder Junior High

Second place—Natalie Squires, Jona-than Alder Junior High

Third place tie—Paul Meier, Madison-Plains Middle School, and Nick Smith, Jonathan Alder Junior High

Eighth grade

First place tie—Ben Rohrig and Kara Seidenstricker, both of Jonathan Alder Junior High

Second place—Susie Kessler, Madison-Plains Middle School

Third place tie—Connor Longworth, Jonathan Alder Junior High, and Mackenzie Walters, Madison-Plains Middle School.

Thomas Fry Jr., Bob Cordes, Florine Hamlin and Hazel Williams edited the math tests for the contest, which was sponsored by the Madison County Elemen-tary Principals’ Association.

NOTE: For the answer to the word problem at the beginning of this story, go to www.columbusmessenger.com and click on “Madison.” Other questions and answers from the County Math Bee tests also are posted.

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