Math students from Saugerties Junior High School flexed their mental muscles by taking part in the American Math Contest 8 (AMC 8) in November of 2013 at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.
The AMC 8, a national middle school math contest conducted annually by the Mathematical Association of America, was sponsored by the Bard Math Circle, an elementary and middle grade mathematics enrichment program that meets monthly on the Bard campus and Kingston Library.
During the 40-minute competition, 23 students answered 25 multiple-choice questions that SJHS math department chair Ginger Vail described as “higher level thinking questions” that involved such mathematical concepts as sequencing, factors and proportional reasoning.
As the students took the test, their parents attended a panel discussion that provided tips on raising an exceptionally bright child.
Following the test, the students tackled a classic math puzzle called the Kongisberg Bridge with help from a Bard math professor. The problem challenges the mathematician to find a way for a pedestrian to cross all seven bridges connecting the mainland and two islands along the Pregel River in Russia without crossing the same bridge twice.
Vail said she was pleased with the turnout. The Saugerties contingent, which also included Vail’s son, a sixth grade student at Morse Elementary School, made up the largest group of students from a single school at the competition.
Vail noted that the event not only gave students the opportunity to visit a college campus but was also good practice for state math assessments, which for eighth grade accelerated math students is the Regents.
Vail also said it pleased her to see the students stretching themselves and striving to do more with their gifts.
“It’s nice that they felt confident enough to step up,” she said.