Welcome to Somerville Mathematics

Welcome to Somerville Mathematics, a blog devoted to exciting mathematical things happening in Somerville MA. I am the founder of The Somerville Mathematics Fund, www.Somervillemathematicsfund.org
The Math Fund was chartered to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville. I hope you will check out my TEDxSomerville talk on the Somerville Math Fund,
I find that there are many other interesting things happening mathematically in Somerville and I hope on this blog to have others share what they are doing. So please contact me at mathfund@gmail.com if you would like to contribute an article.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scrapheap Showdown 2010 -- Moving on up!

On October 24th, twelve teams of 3 students each competed in the 6th annual Scrapheap Showdown.  Tufts University generously hosted us in the Cousens Gym.

This year's problem was probably our biggest challenge because the students needed 4 hours to complete it.  The challenge was to move up to 15 each of cocoons, marbles and/or bottle caps from a table top on the floor to a standing table.  Their machines couldn't come within 12 inches of the upper table.  There were three small targets on table -- students got point for landing on the table and many more points if they could land within the targets.  There were bonus points for moving multiple types of objects into the targets and for landing in multiple targets.

The winning team had three elevators (see right) leading up to ramps with openings directly over the desired targets.  Each elevator was operated by a counterweight on the far left end of the machine.  Students would load the items to move into the cup elevator close to the floor (on right), and then the student on the left would release the weight.

The pictures of all of the other teams, along with their projects are on this link:

Scrapheap photos

The Somerville Mathematics Fund was charted in 2000 to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville MA.  We run the annual Scrapheap challenge and family math nights along with awarding scholarships and teacher grants.

For more information or to make a donation, check out the math fund's website.