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ORAU Sponsors Tennessee Middle School Math Competition

Competition celebrates 10 years of making mathematics fun

May 12, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—More than 550 students from 29 area schools recently competed for the honor of being named the top middle school math students in East Tennessee.

The 2010 Tennessee Middle School Math Competition, now in its 10th year, was held May 7 at Pellissippi State Community College and was sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Over the past decade, nearly 6,000 middle school students have participated in the program’s activities, which seek to keep young students inspired about mathematics. With some students traveling from as far away as Newport, Jefferson City and Oneida, the day-long competition has become the largest in the state of Tennessee.

Eighth grade individual award winners at the 2010 Tennessee Middle School Math Competition at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pictured L to R are the eighth grade individual award winners at the 2010 Tennessee Middle School Math Competition at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville on May 7: Larry Shen, Jefferson Middle School, Oak Ridge; Gaibe Zhang, Jefferson Middle School, Oak Ridge; Matthew Carpenter, Bearden Middle School, Knoxville; Oak Ridge Associated Universities Associate Director for Science Education Programs Dr. Tim Forde; David O’Neil, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge; Kenneth Ye, Farragut Middle School, Knoxville; William Zhang, Jefferson Middle School, Jefferson City; Thomas Turner, Bearden Middle School, Knoxville; Erik Blackland, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge; Garrett Malone, West Valley Middle School, Knoxville; Stevie Andress, Jefferson Middle School, Oak Ridge.

The Pellissippi State Foundation received a $14,000 grant from ORAU to support the competition, and trophies and gifts were given to the top 10 students in each grade.

“Even after 10 years, the need to motivate middle school students and to keep them engaged in mathematics has never been more important,” said Jonathan Lamb, Pellissippi State math professor. “We truly appreciate ORAU’s dedication year after year to help keep the program as strong as it is.”

Students battle each other in the jousting arena.

Two student competitors take a break from crunching numbers and battle each other in the gladiator jousting arena temporarily erected on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley campus.

The 32-question tests that the student competitors took were unique for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade levels and were designed by Lamb in collaboration with site coordinators from colleges across the state of Tennessee.

Bearden Middle School in Knoxville walked away with the number-one team ranking for the best overall score in the eighth-grade team category.

Farragut Middle School in Knoxville took the number-one team ranking for both the seventh- and sixth-grade team categories.

Are You Smarter Than a Middle School Student?

VPP logo

Test your math skills on this sample question from the 10th Annual Tennessee Middle School Math Competition:

Multiplication of whole numbers can be defined as a function (ƒ) from the set of all ordered pairs of whole numbers (a, b) onto the set of all whole numbers.

Which of the following equations is true?

A. ƒ(2,9) = 11
B. ƒ(0,0) = 0
C. ƒ(0,1) = 1
D. ƒ(3,3) = 3
E. ƒ(1,1) = 0

Learn the correct answer!

The individual winners were Larry Shen, Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, eighth grade; Lam Tran, Farragut Middle School, seventh grade; and Liz Enyenihi, Farragut Middle School, sixth grade. Shen, a veteran of the middle school math competition, has dominated the contest by achieving first place in the individual competition for all three of his sixth, seventh, and eighth grade years.

“As our nation’s future scientists and engineers, these students are working hard to develop skills that are necessary to carry them through their education and on into their careers,” said Dr. Tim Forde, ORAU associate director, Science Education Programs. “Pellissippi State is doing an excellent job at reaching those future leaders by encouraging our area’s top math performers to achieve academically. It’s an effort we are very proud to be a partner of.”

In addition to the competition, students were also treated to lunch and participated in several recreational activities such as combat laser tag, gladiator jousting, dodge ball, and big-glove boxing. At the end of the event, an awards ceremony was held to recognize the contest’s winning individuals and teams.

Results from the 2010 Middle School Math Competition

Students won prizes from $300 for first place to $25 for 10th place.

Sixth grade individual winners:

  1. Liz Enyenihi (Farragut Middle School)
  2. Albert Xue (West Valley Middle School)
  3. Jered Hunn (Farragut Middle School)
  4. Makena Marsh (West Valley Middle School)
  5. Alec Bissell (Bearden Middle School)
  6. Shichen Zhang (Jefferson Middle School—Oak Ridge)
  7. Emma Milloway (St. Mary’s School)
  8. Jacob Gerker (West Valley Middle School)
  9. Liana Hu (Farragut Middle School)
  10. Justin Stevens (Bearden Middle School)

  Seventh grade individual winners:

  1. Lam Tran (Farragut Middle School)
  2. Melisa Yu (Farragut Middle School)
  3. Chris Meyer (Cleveland Middle School)
  4. Katherine Zhang (Jefferson Middle School)
  5. Jonathan Redington (Whittle Springs Middle School)
  6. Don Joo (Farragut Middle School)
  7. Alexis Dubs (Maryville Middle School)
  8. Kyle Parsley (Farragut Middle School)
  9. Rebecca Bennett (West Valley Middle School)
  10. Indigo Jackson (Jefferson Middle School)

 Eighth grade individual winners:

  1. Larry Shen (Jefferson Middle School—Oak Ridge)
  2. Gaibe Zhang (Jefferson Middle School—Oak Ridge)
  3. Matthew Carpenter (Bearden Middle School)
  4. David O’Neil (Robertsville Middle School)
  5. Kenneth Ye (Farragut Middle School)
  6. Erik Blackland (Robertsville Middle School)
  7. Thomas Turner (Bearden Middle School)
  8. Stevie Andress (Jefferson Middle School—Oak Ridge)
  9. William Zhang (Jefferson Middle School—Jefferson City)
  10. Garrett Malone (West Valley Middle School)

Awards were also presented for the three schools with the best overall scores at each grade level for the competition. Those were as follows:

 Sixth grade:

  1. Farragut Middle School, Knoxville
  2. West Valley Middle School, Knoxville
  3. Bearden Middle School, Knoxville

Seventh grade:

  1. Farragut Middle School, Knoxville
  2. Jefferson Middle School, Oak Ridge
  3. Maryville Middle School, Maryville

Eighth grade:

  1. Bearden Middle School, Knoxville
  2. Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge
  3. Jefferson Middle School, Oak Ridge

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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