Pond Road Middle School’s Math Olympiad team among world’s best

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Members of Pond Road Middle School's Math Olympiad team react after teacher Anne DiGiussepe announces the news that their scores have ranked them among the 10 percent of the 5,000 elementary and middle schools in the world that participated in Math Olympiads this year.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Members of Pond Road Middle School’s Math Olympiad team react after teacher Anne DiGiussepe announces the news that their scores have ranked them among the 10 percent of the 5,000 elementary and middle schools in the world that participated in Math Olympiads this year.

Are you smarter than a fourth-grader? Smarter than a fifth-grader?

Spend some time with the Math Olympiad Team at Pond Road Middle School and you might wonder about that.

The Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary & Middle Schools (MOEMS) ranks the Pond Road Middle School team among the top 10 percent of the 5,000 teams from the U.S. and 25 foreign countries that participated in Math Olympiads during the 2012-2013 school year. These 22 PRMS fourth- and fifth-graders, under the tutelage of teacher Anne DiGiussepe, have put their problem-solving abilities to the test in a series of five math contests this year and earned stellar scores.

“I am extremely proud of them,” DiGiussepe said after presenting each student with a MOEMS certificate and patch June 4 to recognize their achievement. “This is the first time Pond Road has ever scored in the top 10 percent of the world. These kids have worked hard and they deserve this.”

Each year, about 50 students try out to be members of the PRMS Math Olympiad Team by taking a test at the beginning of the school year, but only the students with the 12 highest scores in fourth grade and fifth grade make the cut. The team meets twice a month from November through March. Students practice solving word problems at the first meeting of the month, and take a MOEMS test at the second meeting. Scores are kept at MOEMS headquarters in Bellmore, New York.  In early June, the students get together one last time to get back their final tests and collect any awards earned.

“It’s really, really hard,” James Cavanaugh-Gialloreto said. “But it’s also fun.”

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Fourth-grader Hari Shankaran and fifth-grader Aanya Gupta, are congratulated by their teacher Anne DiGiuseppe (left) and Assistant Principal Suzanne Guidry, for earning the highest scores of all students on Pond Road Middle School's Math Olympiad team.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Fourth-grader Hari Shankaran and fifth-grader Aanya Gupta, are congratulated by their teacher Anne DiGiuseppe (left) and Assistant Principal Suzanne Guidry, for earning the highest scores of all students on Pond Road Middle School’s Math Olympiad team.

DiGiuseppe said MOEMS won’t allow teachers to divulge any of the 2013 Math Olympiad word problems, but she shared one from a previous year’s test to provide an example of the type of work these 9- and 10-year-old math students are doing.

“A cubical box without a top is 4 cm on each edge,” DiGiuseppe said. “It contains 64 identical 1cm cubes that exactly fill the box. How many of these small cubes actually touch the box?”

The students have six minutes to come up with an answer, she said. (Readers who want to see if they’re smarter than a fourth-grader can find the answer to the math problem at the end of the story).

MOEMS also gives out individual awards to students, based on a point system tied to their scores, with 25 points equaling a perfect score. Eleven students on the Pond Road Middle School Math Olympiad team were recognized with gold or silver pins because of their high scores. These students are: fourth-graders Hari Shankaran, Sachi Anand, Skyler Frostrom, Vijay Shah, Daniel Silberberg, Praneeth Vedantham and Kavya Velliangiri; as well as fifth-graders Aanya Gupta, Arrshia Kumar, Danny Marincas and Noel Varughese.

Trophies were also awarded to the top scorers in each grade. Hari Shankaran was the fourth-grade winner and Aanya Gupta, who scored a near-perfect 24 out of a possible 25 points, won the fifth-grade trophy.

Spoiler alert. The answer to the sample MOEMS math problem is 52 cubes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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