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 28, 2019

Scrapheap Showdown 2019: Ship to Shore!

On October 27, 18 high school students on six teams gathered in “The Cage” in Cousens Gym at Tufts University to compete in the Somerville Mathematics Fund’s 15th annual Scrapheap Showdown.  Along with the usual interesting “junk” in the center of the room when the students walked in, there were also piles of foam core and paper.  The students were given their challenge: to design and build a crane on a base of MDF board. The teams worked intensely, designing, building, testing, reinforcing, and adjusting their cranes.

Time was called after 3 3/4 hours.  Now was the time for the two competitions. The first challenge was a precision test to retrieve objects from the “ship” on the floor and place these to various places on the tables (different locations were worth different points).

They had 3 minutes for this first challenge.  The second challenge was unloading bulk cargo: a strength and speed test.  They had to upload various objects (weights, marbles, coins) and the total was weighed after 2 minutes.

They had to be careful to not overload their bucket and break the crane arm.  The team that was able to raise the most, Euleroids, lifted a total of 16 pounds, 2 ounces.

Teams were ranked in each event, one thru six, with 1 getting 1 point, etc.  So the winning team had the lowest final score.

The team with the lowest overall score, was “Euleroids” (Charlie Nadeau, Iskandar Nazhar, Myles Rivera).

The second place team was the “Crimson Quackateers” (Nora Chiu, Owen Chiu, Caden Yarberry).

The third place team was "√-1 2^3  ∑ π " (i eight sum pi) (Laura Clervil, Harmanpreet Kaur, Nasreen Kaur).

The fourth place team was "i i on the π π" (i’s on the pi’s) (Brian Jian Chan, Luca Duclos-Orsello, Timothy Labounko).

The other teams were "Generic Name" (Omar Benkhayat, Alexa English, Jadrianis Vega)

and "Don't Be Trash" (Rio Hunter Black, Isra Khan, Marie Lessard-Brandt).

The teams could choose their prize in the order they finished.    The prizes donated were:  three $100 Target gift cards (donated by Anne Button), three $100 amazon gift cards (donated by Jay & Jasper) four 2019 Red Sox tickets (donated by Sam Voolich), four $50 RedBones BBQ gift cards, one $50 gift card for FlatBread and Sacco Bowl and $60 cash.  All competitors and volunteers went home with Scrapheap Showdown teeshirts donated by Gerald and Debra Bickoff of Commercial Cleaning Service.

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.

Designers & refiners of the challenge were: Sanford Bogage, Anne Button, Chase Duclos-Orsello,  Zachary Faubion, Adam Foster, Monica Fernandes, Richard Graf, Jay Landers, Zbigniew Nitecki, Erica Voolich.

Stanhope Framers donated the foam core; Magnificent Muffin & Bagel donated egg crates and Patricia Murphy-Sheehy, with the math teachers at Somerville High School, recruited student teams.  Amy Weiss designed the T-shirts and edited the poster advertising the event at the high school.

Sponsors of the event included Winter Hill Bank, RedBones BBQ, Commercial Cleaning Service, Jack Connolly of Wedgwood-Crane & Connolly, Mide Corporation, Rudy’s Restaurant, Jay & Jasper, Anne Button, anonymous, and our most wonderful host, Tufts University.

Suffolk University Catering provided the refreshments for the teams and volunteers.  Various members of the Board worked on all aspects of organizing the event and worked to make it a success along with community volunteer Scott Carlson.

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.

If these pictures aren't enough, here are some general pictures to enjoy.

©Somerville Math Fund 2019
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