Students from New Haven's Middle Schools to Show Their Math Prowess in Yale Competition

MATHCOUNTS Outreach, a Yale undergraduate organization, will hold its second annual competition for students from 15 New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) on April 25.

Members of the media are welcome to cover the lively Countdown Round, beginning at 2 p.m. in Davies Auditorium, Becton Center, 15 Prospect St.

The competition caps months of hard work on the part of 200 New Haven middle school students who have been flexing their mathematical muscles under the guidance of 34 Yale student coaches. Throughout the year, Yale students have gone into New Haven and West Haven public middle schools every week to help youngsters build their problem-solving skills and develop an interest in math.

The MATHCOUNTS Foundation provides guidance and resources for this first-of-its-kind effort to reach out to urban public school students, get them excited about math, raise their test scores and provide them with role models.

“The passion and energy of these students is amazing,” said Lou DiGioia, executive director of MATHCOUNTS. “In the second year of the program, NHPS student participation has nearly tripled, and that is a direct result of the dedication and support of the Yale student coaches. We hope that their effort to give back to the local community will inspire similar efforts by other college students at universities across the country.” 

The competition will consist of several written components that challenge individual students and teams to solve complex, multi-step problems with and without the aid of a calculator. The top students will then participate in the Countdown Round, a fast-paced, one-on-one oral competition similar to “Jeopardy,” which begins at 2 p.m. At the 3:30 p.m. closing ceremony, DiGioia will present student competitors with awards.

MATHCOUNTS Outreach was formed in 2006 by MATHCOUNTS “alumni” and other Yale students interested in volunteering in the community.

“My own middle school MATHCOUNTS experience inspired a lifelong interest in math, and I became motivated to start MATHCOUNTS Outreach when I found out that no New Haven Public Schools participated. I am thrilled that so many NHPS schools are now using MATHCOUNTS to develop students’ math skills and show them that math is fun,” said Brian Edwards, a senior at Yale and the program’s founder. Many of the Yale-student coaches are former “Mathletes”® and all of them are committed to sharing the joy of mathematics with New Haven students. 

MATHCOUNTS Outreach is a collaboration involving Yale undergraduates, the NHPS math department, the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers and the MATHCOUNTS Foundation. Yale student coaches work alongside NHPS math teachers to coordinate and run practice sessions. The competition is co-sponsored by MATHCOUNTS Outreach and Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs.

Each year, the MATHCOUNTS Foundation creates an entirely new MATHCOUNTS School Handbook and provides a complimentary copy to every U.S. middle school. Focused on problem solving, analytical thinking, reasoning and teamwork, these 300 math problems meet National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards for grades 6–8.

Additional information is available online at the MATHCOUNTS web site. Additional information is available online on MATHCOUNTS Outreach: a Yale Undergraduate Organization.

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