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.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Junk-Yard Sail: The Answer is Blowing in the Wind!

On October 30, 39 high school students on 13 teams gathered in “The Cage” in Cousins Gym at Tufts University to compete in the 12th annual Scrapheap Showdown.  Along with the usual interesting “junk” in the center of the room when the students walked in, there was paper, lots of foam and foam core, plus of string and tape.  There was also a wind tunnel built in the middle of the gym.  The students were given their challenge: to build a wind powered craft to sail across the treacherous gym floor.

The teams worked intensely, building, testing and adjusting their wind powered crafts.  

They needed to build a craft that could not just cross the floor, but could get around an obstacle.  There were four contests. Teams were ranked by how they finished in each challenge, and based on the points earned, winners were chosen.

Time was called after 3 hours.  

Not only were various things used for sails, but the bodies of the crafts varied in design, materials and wheels.  Now was the time for the competition -- check out the pictures from the competition.  The teams were judged on speed, distance, steering around an obstacle, and weight carrying.  They were ranked by their finish in each event, with the first team getting 13 points, 2nd getting 12 and so on.  The winners were determined by their total score.
One of the wind powered crafts emerging from the wind tunnel.

The students' wind powered crafts competed against each other.

“Team Take Dubs” won the time and distance events.  
"Team Take Dubs"

“Da Ken Bone$” won the avoiding the obstacle, 
"Da Ken Bone$"

and “Universe Most Wanted” won the weight carrying event.
"Universe Most Wanted"
The team with the highest overall score (40), was “Team Take Dubs” (Qijiin Chau, Gabe K-G, Samuel Saron).  

There was a tie for 2nd place (35), and the tie was broken by one team having won one of the four events. The “Universe Most Wanted” (Quincy Garcia, Ben Novick, Zackery Shea) were 2nd. 
 “The 3 of Spades” (Youssef Atti, Michael Rosenberger, Shivanshu Sharma) were 3rd.
"The 3 of Spades"

There was a 3-way tie for fourth (34).  The tie was broken by the 4th place team having finished first in an event.  “Da Ken Bone$” 
(Daniel Correa, Desi Feldman, Ataur Rahman) finished fourth.  The fifth place team was determined by having a 3rd place in one event while the 6th had a 4th.  “The Bumblebees” (Tristan Brown-Vazquez, Max Nadeau, Patrick Raftery) were 5th 
"The Bumblebees"

and “The X-Men” (Zachary Dion, Luca Duclos-Orsello, Timothy Labounko) came in 6th.
"The X-Men"

The other teams competing in the competition were "Rag Tek," "Peanut Butter and Jelly with Cereal," "RTD," "AJE," "Lady Highlanders," "Tashakri," and "The Mongoyamotor."

The teams could choose their prize in the order they finished.    The prizes donated were:  three $100 gift cards (donated by Anne Button), four Red Sox tickets (donated by Sam Voolich), three $50 RedBones BBQ gift cards, 3 $50 Amazon gift cards (donated by Jay Landers and Jasper Lawson), and 6 ice cream cone chips from Gracie’s.

This event was for both fundraising and an intellectual challenge--all funds raised go towards a Somerville Mathematics Fund scholarship for an outstanding Somerville mathematics student.  The top fundraiser was Kelly Cachimuel who won a $50 RedBones gift card and also a $20 JP Licks gift card.  All competitors and volunteers went home with Scrapheap Showdown teeshirts donated by Gerald and Debra Bickoff of Commercial Cleaning Service.  

Designers and refiners of the challenge were: Anne Button, Chase Duclos-Orsello, Zachary Faubion, Adam Foster, Monica Fernandes, Miriam Gates, Richard Graf, Jay Landers, Zbigniew Nitecki, Erica Voolich, and Michael Voolich.  Rogers Foam donated the foam, Architectural Openings donated wood cuttings, Stanhope Framers donated the foam core.  Michael Morgan and Dana Lee, teachers at Somerville High School, recruited student teams.  Sodexo at Suffolk University donated the food.  Michael Voolich designed the T-shirts.  

Sponsors of the event included Winter Hill Bank, East Cambridge Savings Bank, RedBones BBQ, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Commercial Cleaning Service, Jay & Jasper, and our most wonderful host, Tufts University.  Various members of the Board worked on all aspects of organizing the event and worked to make it a success along with community volunteers. 

The Somerville Mathematics Fund was chartered in 2000 to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville.  In January, they will be looking for teacher grant applications; and in April, they will be looking for scholarship applications.   For more information or to volunteer or to make a donation, call 617-666-0666, e-mail mathfund@gmail.com, or go to www.somervillemathematicsfund.org.

The Link to this page is http://somervillemathematics.blogspot.com/2016/10/scrapheap-showdown-challenge-is-coming.html

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Scrapheap Showdown Challenge is Coming! Get your Team Together NOW!

Scrapheap Showdown is Coming ... time to get your teams together.
The Somerville Math Fund's annual high school engineering challenge is coming on Sunday October 30th.
Teams of three will arrive to discover what will be their challenge to build this year.  If you're interested in seeing some of the previous years' projects, click here.

To compete you must be a high school student living in Somerville MA.  Go to this link to get all of the details.  Start organizing your team NOW, the registration is due on October 14.

In the past, the teams not only came up with creative names for their teams, but they also came up with interesting creative solutions to the annual challenges.  We always have great prizes.

Go forth and form your teams!

Good Luck!