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SBU hosts more than 600 youth at math contests

BOLIVAR, Mo. — About 620 number-crunching students from Missouri and Kansas elementary and middle schools gathered at Southwest Baptist University on Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 for math contests hosted by the SBU Department of Mathematics. The 18th annual competition provided a positive educational experience and encouraged the enjoyment and study of mathematics.

The competition field included third- through eighth-grade students from Kansas City, Marshfield, Nevada, Springfield, Spokane, Rolla, Branson, Joplin, Rogersville, Neosho, Buffalo, Nixa, Wheaton and more. Participating Bolivar students came from Bolivar Intermediate School and Middle School.

“I have been attending the math competitions for the past three years with our students and sponsors,” said Lisa Baldwin, a third-grade teacher in the Neosho school district. “I really enjoy bringing our students each year, and we all appreciate the work (SBU) puts into hosting the competitions each year.”

The event centered on grade-level-specific tests with various formats and degrees of difficulty to help prepare students for larger competitions taking place later in the year. These larger competitions include the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics contests, one regional qualifying round of which will occur at SBU on April 1. Based on their Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 performance, 169 elementary students qualified for the next round of competition.

Additionally, 27 middle-school students on Jan. 21 and 44 on Jan. 28 qualified for their next level of competition. For students from Missouri, this is the state MCTM competition, which will take place April 8 in Ballwin, Mo. 

For students interested in more math-centered instruction and activities, registration is available for Math Contest Camps hosted this summer by Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the SBU Department of Mathematics, for fifth- through 12th-grade students.