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Release: Immediate

UI math department hosts high school math competition Saturday, March 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa department of mathematics will host its first ever UI Mathematics Competition for about 130 eastern Iowa high school students on Saturday, March 1, in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall.

The day's activities will begin with an 8 a.m. registration session, followed by a welcome at 8:40 a.m. and formal competition between 9 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. But perhaps the most unusual part of the competition will be the "math relay race" to be held for about 20 minutes beginning at 11:50 a.m. In this event, teams of students will compete like runners in a 4-by-100-meter track relay, with team members each completing one portion of a problem, then handing off their answers to fellow teammates who will try to complete the next "lap" of the race. According to Paul Muhly, UI mathematics professor, the competition is all about stimulating interest in mathematics.

"The goal of such competitions -- and the preparation for them -- is to make mathematics fun so that the students will want to learn more of it. Mathematics opens opportunities for the students; it is enabling. Math competitions also develop important skills in students in much the same way as debate tournaments develop important communication skills," Muhly says.

Following the competition relay race, participants will adjourn for lunch, then reassemble at 2 p.m. for an awards ceremony, with plaques and certificates for the winners.

The UI Mathematics Competition is sponsored by the department of mathematics, and Students Undertaking Mathematical Sciences (SUMS), the UI student math club. In addition to Muhly, activity planners include Terry Sargent, UI junior math student and SUMS chair, UI senior math student Ben Galluzzo, and Iowa City West High School mathematics instructors Linda Muhly, Mike Marcketti and Brad Glass.