Group from Maggie Walker among Top in the World
A group of seniors from the Maggie Walker Governor’s School is among the top Math Modeling Teams in the world.
The Maggie Walker team was one of only eight in the world awarded the highest designation, National Outstanding, by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.
TYLER: Math-modeling is basically using math to describe some real world situation.
Eric Tyler is one member of what is the school’s 15th four-member team to win the highest designation. That’s more than any other school in the world. Their challenge, Will Farmer explained, was to build a model that compared the devastation of various-sized earthquakes and their resulting tsunamis in eight cities. The team researched the problem, created a mathematical analysis, and then wrote a 30-page paper.
Farmer: We have a 36-hour competition. So we get to someone’s house and we do this all at someone’s house. And each of us are really good at specific things. Like Susan’s good at statistics and Eric’s good at coming up with problems and she’s good at research.
Farmer said his strength is critiquing. Ironically, one of the cities threatened by a tsunami in their problem was Hilo, Hawaii.
Farmer: And, specifically an earthquake off of Chile and then that recently happened, so it was kind of surprising and it was interesting if it would follow our model closely.
Ogle: Did it?
Ballentine: Well, the way that our model actually measured devastation, which is what we were instructed to do, is we measured by the number of people displaced, which could either mean by out of their houses or dead or injured or that sort of thing. So I don’t think there’s been, like enough accurate numbers yet on how many people have actually been affected so there’s no way really yet to tell.
Susan Ballentine and the others were energized, she said, by the competition and all of them plan careers in mathematics.
Ballentine: I plan to pursue a career in Applied Math so this is sort of an intro to like workin gtogether as a team to sort of model a real world situation which is basically what I would be doing.
Farmer: Math modeling is used anywhere and everywhere so I want to go into medical and probably medical research and so I’m definitely going to be using math modeling, even in the lab or anywhere.
Tyler: As for me, I want to go into medicine as well. I’m not sure entirely where in medicine. But most everywhere medicine’s going to use math to some degree.
Student: I’m interesting in business and banking and finance, so they use mathematical models to predict part of the stock market, etc. and see where their stock would go and seewhere values would go.
..and Ashish Makaia explained that while all four team members had been involved with math in their four years at Maggie Walker.
Makaia: It’s different to have a whole entire class situated around it. I mean, we’ve done small projects on applying math to the real world but never a whole class.
The entire world wide Math Modeling competition takes place in cyberspace.
Makaia: For this competition there wasn’t a specific destination we had to go to to receive our awards, to receive the problem or anything. It was all done online. We received all the information online and registered online, we received our awards, plaque and T-shirts are coming through the mail.
A total of 277 teams from 47 schools competed. Two other Maggie Walker teams won Regional Outstanding recognition also ranking in the top 8% worldwide, and four teams from the Governor’s school received meritorious recognition, placing them in the top 30%. A math modeling team from Mills Godwin High School was also among the National Outstanding winners and another also placed regionally.
John Ogo, WCVE News