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.
Erica

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10th Annual Scrapheap Showdown-- Just Zip it!

On October 26, 8 teams of 3 high school students each from Somerville gathered in Gantcher Gym at Tufts University to compete in the tenth annual Scrapheap Showdown.  Along with the usual interesting “junk” in the center of the room when the students walked in, there were many pieces of paper, some foam core, lots of string and tape.

The students were given their challenge: to build two ziplines, one to move supplies to and the other to move logs back from a logging camp which lies across a river.

The goal was to move as many logs as possible and return with as little as ballast as possible on the shuttle, without anything hitting the river and being destroyed.

The teams worked intensely, building, testing and adjusting their zip lines.

They needed to learn how to maintain enough tension to support the loads, design ways of carrying the loads with not too much friction, in addition to building the supporting towers on each end.

Time was called after 4 hours.

Now was the time for the competition.
The teams were judged on the length of the ziplines (minimum of 18 feet), the maximum logs they can carry over (rolls of pennies), the  minimum ballast (rolls of pennies) they carry back and if they can have the first zipline automatically trigger the second (a 20% bonus).

Each of the eight ziplines was interesting and sported differences in design — the length of the zipline and the amount of weight carried varied.   The two longest were 29 feet, 7.5 inches and 24 feet, 4 inches.

There were different ways of triggering the return zipline, one by a string pulling out the trigger mid-passage, others by knocking out a brace or tape when the heavier load of logs arrived over the river.

The students' ziplines competed against each other.

Repeating as the team with the highest overall score, was “Back to Basics” (Elliot Rippe, Daniel Portillo, Arjun Singh) — they won last year too.

Second place was the “Rag Tek” (Anoush Khan, Gavin Lawhite, Daniel Strauss).

Third place was “Benny” (Alexander Costa, Ben Stevens).

Fourth place was “Lady Highlanders” (YuYing Chen, Lourdes Jean-Louis, Priscila Ponce).

Fifth place was "Titans"  (Rhedise Bass, Abbe Beke, Kelly Cachimuel).

Sixth place was "Freshmans 3.0" (Cesar Benavides, Alex Colandris, Kevin Fuentes).

The teams could choose their prize in the order they finished.    The prizes donated were: three \$100 gift cards (donated by Susan Weiss), four Red Sox tickets (donated by Sam Voolich), three \$50 RedBones BBQ gift cards, six  passes Museum of Fine Arts and six passes to the Children’s Museum (donated by PriceWaterHouse), six passes to the Somerville Theater, and three \$25 gift certificateds to D2.

The other teams competing were "Destiny" and "Random Team Name Here"

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.

Fundraiser Anmol Bhargo won a Newbury Comics gift card donated by the Jay Landers.  All competitors and volunteers went home with Scrapheap Showdown tee-shirts donated by Gerald and Debra Bickoff.

Designers & refiners of the challenge were: Chase Duclos-Orsello, Adam Foster, Monica Fernandes, Richard Graf, Jay Landers, Zbigniew Nitecki, Beth Ruskai, Erica Voolich, Michael Voolich, and Susan Weiss.  Stanhope Framers donated the foam core, DSG Communications donated the paper.  Dana Lee and Michael Morgan, teachers at Somerville High School, recruited student teams.  Michael Voolich designed the T-shirts.

Sponsors of the event included Winter Hill Bank, RedBones BBQ , CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, the Bickoff family, Jay & Jasper, and our 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 is an affiliate of Dollars for Scholars.  They were 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 Somerville Mathematics Fund is an affiliate of Dollars for Scholars.  They were 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 post is http://somervillemathematics.blogspot.com/2014/10/10th-annual-scrapheap-showdown-just-zip.html