• Drake Thomas declared math champ
By Naomi Klouda
If the math team ordered seven, eight-slice pizzas, what is left over after 41 slices are eaten?
To get there, multiply seven and eight to get 56, and then subtract 41, to get 15. Easy enough, as far as questions go at the Middle School Math Meet.
Yet, contenders from Seward to Nanwalek who participated in the annual math competition answered many such questions before teacher Derek Bynagle was even finished reading them aloud.
How about this one: If you have 24 Democrats, 32 Republicans, four independents and only one senator is selected, what is the random probability that the senator is a Republican? Express your answer in a common fraction.
Did you come up with 8/15th of a chance? You may be a Math Whiz too.
Drake Thomas came up as the top finisher among a gym of math champs Friday afternoon at Homer Middle School. The seventh grader is now en route to the National Math Championship in Florida, after finishing first in the state two weeks ago in Anchorage.
This is the seventh-annual event, co-hosted by the Kachemak Bay Branch of Kenai Peninsula College and Homer Middle School. It is based on the Alaska and National Math Counts program.
Math Counts is a program designed to excite and challenge middle school students through fun, challenging competitions and math activities. An official Math Counts meet is not currently offered on the peninsula because it must be sponsored by a local branch of the American Society of Professional Engineers. There is no local ASPE branch to contribute to the awards.
The meet accommodates some 90 seventh and eighth graders, with a few sixth-grader contenders. The ultimate goal is to inspire these students to focus on math-related careers and engineering in college or trade school.
John Jones, a sixth grader from Nikolaevsk, was getting a head start on math meets for the next two years when he enters junior high. He’s well beyond his grade level in understanding mathematical concepts.
“In every job, you need math, even if it’s a little bit,” he said. “If you haven’t studied math, you won’t get a high-paying job. You’ll have to work at a fast food restaurant and make a minimum wage.”
Jones says math goes with science like reading goes with writing.
“You have to do math to be good at science,” he said.
Sprint Round Winners:
1. Drake Thomas, Kenai Middle School
2. Jayce Miller, Connections
3. Aurora Waclawski, Homer Middle School
4. Mikaela Salzetti, Kenai Middle School
Target Round Winners:
1. Drake Thomas, Kenai
2. David Beck, Kenai
3. Jayce Miller, Connections; Aurora Waclawski, HMS; Hunter Harris, HMS
4. August Kilcher, HMS; Raymon Machen, Aurora Borealis; Kyle Carroll, HMS; Kenny Cortez, HMS; Braden Swanson, Aurora Borealis; Toby Randall, Aurora Borealis; Joe Ravin, West Homer.
Team Round Winners:
First Team: Lindsey Schneider, HMS; Drake Thomas, Kenai Middle; Jimmy Gao, Connections; Diana Gaedecke, Chapman.
Second Team: Jayce Miller, Connections; Joel Carroll, West Homer; Emily Coble, HMS; Caleigh Jensen, Kenai
Third Team: Ean Atchley, Kenai; Braden Swanson, Aurora Borealis; Taylor Sheldon, Kenai; Levi King, West Homer
Fourth Team: Kyle Carroll, HMS; Avery Hieber, Kenai; Julianne Wilson, Kenai; Lauren Jones, HMS
1. Drake Thomas, Kenai Middle
2. Jayce Miller, Connections
3. August Kilcher, HMS
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