How many Moon Pies would it take to fill the Moon? Quadrillions, according one of the posters submitted in the UTC Department of Mathematics fourth annual Mathematics Poster competition. More than 70 students from five area middle and high schools, participated in the competition recently in the Tennessee Room of the UTC University Center.
“It was similar to a science fair,” Dr. Matt Matthews, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and organizer of this year’s event,” said. Participating students made posters to be put on display and evaluated by a panel of judges.
This year’s theme was “Mathematics in Tennessee: Business and Industry.” Some posters presented information on area companies, including Volkswagen, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Tennessee Aquarium were included.
“The posters had to draw from things where mathematics intersects with science and industry,” Matthews said.
The students’ work was evaluated based on mathematical content, originality, and visual presentation.
“An attractive, smart poster is what we were looking for,” he continued.
Judges included UTC faculty Dr. Irene Loomis, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Betsy Darken, Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Ethan Carver, Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Boris Belinskiy, UC Foundation Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Francesco Barioli, Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics, and Dr. Neslihan Alp, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and Research in the Department of Engineering.
“I was really impressed with the quality of work these students put together, their support from their school teachers, and their enthusiasm,” Alp said. “I have talked with each of them, and they answered my questions very well. It was great to meet with these young students and learn more about them.”
Winners from three grade divisions, 6 – 8, 9 – 10, and 11 – 12, were given cash prizes sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. First, second, and third prizes are given in each category, with awards of $200, $100, and $50, respectively.
At the middle school level, Jared Burns, Grant Roeder, and Matthew Paynter from Heritage Middle School won first place for their poster, “How is Math Used in Paper Production?” Peyton Gwaltney from Ringgold Middle School won second place with his poster, “Fed Ex.” Noah Wolfe, Conner Harlan, and Michelle Lin from Heritage Middle School won third place for their poster “St. Jude Research Center.”
At the junior level, Lydia Huguenin from Berean Academy won first place for her poster, “Cupcake Cravings.” Lauren Long from Berean Academy won second place for her poster, “How Close is too Close?” Caleb Fuhrwerk from Berean Academy won third place for his poster, “Volkswagen: Math & Science Today.”
At the senior level, Cassie Duncan and Candace Cline from Hixson High School won first place for their poster, “Rocky Mountain Railroad.” Calvin Hiatt and William Hoy from Hixson High School won second place for their poster, “Optimization with Solar Panels.” Eric Barr from Hixson High School won third place with his poster, “Solar Panels and Saving.”
During the competition, many of the students attended a UTC mathematics class and went on a campus tour.
“It was two hours of the students having a good time,” Matthews said. “Afterward, every one of the teachers told me how excited their students were to participate and that they plan to bring more students next year.”