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TheStreet Open House

Math Education Still Possible Amid Budget Struggles

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  MATHCOUNTS.org, a national enrichment club and competition program that promotes mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement, is kicking off their second annual middle school math video competition, the Reel Math Challenge.  At a time when so many American schools are feeling the strain of budget cuts many student clubs and programs simply lack the funding necessary to continue to enrich the educational experience. Technology has created an environment wherein students have unprecedented internet access and smart phones are capable of shooting high quality video and editing it through inexpensive apps. It seems that America has reached a tipping point where a competition such as the one at ReelMath.org is able to respond to educational budget challenges by invigorating the atmosphere of scholastic competitions and connecting students in a new way.

Established to encourage mathematics education, the Reel Math Challenge is an innovative program geared toward middle school students and the program is free to all participants.  The competition requires students to create videos demonstrating a real word application of a math concept.

These sixth through eighth grade students work in teams of four under the guidance of a student advisor to generate a video that is both creative and educational, covering one of the 270 math problems that are outlined in the Reel Math Challenge Student Handbook, a guideline to the contest for all participants.  Along with their student advisor, the students choose a single problem and devise a method to creatively illustrate the solution, along with the mathematical concept associated with the problem.  These math problems are representative of the standard math curriculum for sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

"This math contest is about student engagement and bringing the fun back into math education," said contest founder Lou DiGioia.  "These students are creating personal, entertaining math videos showing how they would solve a real-life math problem, and by bringing in a little competitive spirit with our prizes, we're able to create more meaningful engagement with the problems.  We're also able to build deeper connections between teachers and their students, and enliven the classroom experience, which we believe is the key to building a life-long love of mathematics in these young people – something which our nation critically needs at this time in history."

The 2012 competition was the inaugural year for the Reel Math Challenge, with over 500 students participated and over 200  videos were submitted. The top four vote-getting videos will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2013 MATHCOUNTS National Competition, where they will present their videos to those participating in that event. Once there, a jury of their peers will vote on the best video to determine the overall winner. 

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