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Middle School Mathematicians Participate in ORAU-Sponsored Competition

April 11, 2006

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Tennessee’s next generation of number-crunching mathematicians gathered in Knoxville on April 4 to participate in the sixth annual Tennessee Middle School Mathematics Competition held at Pellissippi State Technical Community College’s (PSTCC) main campus. The regional event, sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and administered by PSTCC’s mathematics department, welcomed students from as far as Crossville and Johnson City to test their knowledge of fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, equations, graphs, and other mathematic principles.

This year’s event marks the first time ORAU has served as the lead sponsor. “As an organization dedicated to promoting educational advancement opportunities, ORAU is proud to have sponsored the opportunity for middle school students to broaden their skills and confidence in mathematics,” said ORAU President Ron Townsend.

A record 672 outstanding sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students participated in the event, exactly twice the previous attendance record of 336. Students were tested based on the principles and standards established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and competed against their peers in the areas of algebra, geometry, number and operation, measurement, data analysis and probability, problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation. The competition format featured a multiple-choice exam designed by college mathematics professors from PSTCC, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis, the University of Tennessee at Martin, and Walters State Community College. One of the key goals of the event was to encourage students to pursue further study in mathematics.

“The East Tennessee region has many talented middle-school mathematics students,” explained Jonathan Lamb, assistant professor of mathematics at PSTCC. “Since more students lose interest in mathematics during the middle grades than at any other point, as educators we are challenged to provide opportunities for middle school students to strengthen their skills and test their knowledge of the core principles of mathematics in order to promote advanced study in the subject.”

Students participated in both team and individual competitions. The top three overall team winners at each grade level were:

  • Sixth grade: West Valley Middle School (Knoxville)
  • Seventh grade: Robertsville Middle School (Oak Ridge)
  • Eighth grade: Jefferson Middle School (Oak Ridge)

Trophies and gift cards were also awarded to the top five students in each grade level. Winners of each grade level are listed in rank order below.

Sixth-grade winners School City
Benjamin Foust Jefferson Middle School Oak Ridge
Robert Jones West Valley Middle School Knoxville
Jenny Tran Karns Middle School Knoxville
Josh Smith West Valley Middle School Knoxville
Katie Spanskaya Jefferson Middle School Oak Ridge
Seventh-grade winners School City
Yajit Jain Robertsville Middle School Oak Ridge
Patrick Tae Robertsville Middle School Oak Ridge
Mattie Floyd Jefferson Middle School Oak Ridge
Andrew Hanson Farragut Middle School Knoxville
Ben Terpstron Robertsville Middle School Oak Ridge
Eighth-grade winners School City
Ryan Liu Jefferson Middle School Oak Ridge
JP Luna Home school Knoxville
Emily Backus Robertsville Middle School Oak Ridge
Clint McKelvey Maryville Middle School Maryville
Ricky Schulte St. John Neumann School Knoxville

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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