34th Annual Lower Michigan Mathematics Competition Takes Place at GVSU
On April 10, 2010, 33 teams consisting of a total of 95 undergraduate students from 13 schools across the Michigan competed in a fierce mathematical competition at Grand Valley State University. The Lower Michigan Mathematics Competition (LMMC) is an annual spring event during which teams of 2-3 undergraduates race to complete an exam with ten mathematics problems. These challenging problems cover a variety of undergraduate mathematics topics. The problems yield only to strong mathematical knowledge, determination and clever ideas from the students. The team members work collaboratively on the problems to increase their chances of success.
Among the teams which competed in the 2010 LMMC, three teams were from GVSU. The 10 students on these teams (3 students on each team with one alternate) trained for the competition throughout the year during the weekly Problem Solving Sessions led by mathematics faculty members Drs. Firas Hindeleh, Darren Parker, Akalu Tefera and Clark Wells.
The competition day started with the three-hour-long exam in the morning. Every year it is arranged that the exam problems are written by an author who is not affiliated with any of the institutions participating in the competition. The 2010 exam was written by Richard Gibbs of Fort Lewis College in Colorado. When the teams were done with their solutions, they submitted the solutions in sealed envelopes to the site director for delivery to the exam author who was also in charge of scoring the solutions. Afterwards, all that was left for the teams to do was to enjoy a well-deserved lunch and examine the author’s solutions to the exam problems. The grading of the exam was completed at the beginning of May.
The winning team of the 2010 LMMC was from Albion College. The winner of the competition receives the travelling trophy of LMMC, the Klein Kup. The trophy is named for the 3-dimensional representation of a Klein bottle which adorns the top of it. The second and third place teams of the 2010 LMMC were, respectively, from Kalamazoo and Calvin College. Two of the GVSU teams placed 6th and 7th in the competition.
The event was sponsored by GVSU. The organizers of the event were Drs. Akalu Tefera and Clark Wells.
Besides the obvious contributions that this collection of books will make to the learning experiences of K–12 students in Michigan, the project has also formed an outstanding professional development opportunity for current GVSU students who aspire to become teachers. Through writing and assessing curricular materials, these students have written activities or short problems that will engage students in their own classrooms and have already gained valuable experience.
In addition to the contributions of numerous student and faculty volunteers, the university at large has been very supportive of this project. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and their respective deans, the Department of Mathematics, and the Provost have provided monetary and time support, encouragement and resources.
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