Contestants Count on Math Prowess

Article excerpt

Byline: Dwayne T. Wong Daily Herald Staff Writer

For some seventh- and eighth-grade students, months of preparation could really add up on Saturday.

Students will participate in the regional competition for the Mathcounts mathematics contest at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.

Sponsored statewide by the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers and nationally by the National Society of Engineers, the contest offers students individual and team competition.

"We started in the fall. We met once or twice a week," said Richard E. Lange, gifted education and staff development director for Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 who coached his district's math team.

District 23 is sending six students to the competition.

At the Saturday contest, students will take a 40-minute math test, solve math problems as a team, answer "rapid fire" math questions within a one-minute time limit and participate in a math bee.

The math problems the students receive will include algebra, trigonometry and statistics-related problems.

"They get into some higher-level math," said Chuck Stockus, assistant executive director of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers.

To prepare, coaches at the schools used contest packets supplied by the engineering groups that allowed whole classrooms to participate in the math exercises. …