Math Enthusiasts Participate in Problem Solving Competition

A group of freshman mathematicians collaborate on a geometry problem. (Christopher Zimmerman)

A group of freshman mathematicians collaborate on a geometry problem. (Christopher Zimmerman)

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Students crowded M204 at 6:30 a.m., scribbling equations on the whiteboard and shouting their progress back and forth to one another.

Hosted by National Assessment & Testing, the Collaborative Problem Solving Contest (CPSC) is one of five mathematics competitions marketed by the company. The contest, which runs April 10-17, is led by Upper School Math Teacher Chris Romero and involves the entire school community, both teachers and students. Roughly 30 to 40 students have participated.

“The problems are too hard to be done individually. There are no simple or cookie-cutter ways to do the problems,”  Romero said. “Basically, they [students] have to be creative; they have to work together, and the problems are fun.”

The contest consists of 15 extended problems and emphasizes creativity, thoroughness and focus over memorization and speed.

“In many ways the problems are more like a board game or video game than a math problem, and so it highlights all the great aspects about problem solving,” Romero said.

This year is the first year that the Upper School will be participating in CPSC. Problems range from math-related essays to problems designed for programming.

“The first year my team participated was 2007-2008,” Romero said. “I was looking for math contests to do, and I found one on the Internet, so I tried it out, and we kept doing it.”

Junior Carlo De Guzman said, “I like that it’s not just plugging things into a calculator. You have to apply logic to the problems, and when you solve something, you get great satisfaction from it.”

For questions regarding the competition, contact Mr. Romero at cromero@sjs.org.

Chris Zimmerman
Staff Writer

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