Arsenal Tech math team to compete in national competition next week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -Two central Indiana high school math teams are heading to New York City this weekend, as finalists in a national competition.

Teams from Columbus North and Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis are two of the six teams to compete on Monday.

They’ll present their solutions to this year’s challenge in front of a panel of math experts. It’s a scholarship competition called Moody’s Mega Math Challenge.

Four seniors from Arsenal Tech are on their school’s team. Their coach, Dr. Mark Blachly, says the students approached him about the competition.

They had 14 hours on a Saturday to answer this question, about school lunches: “Can nutritious be affordable and delicious?”

They say they solved the problem with statistics, and a little bit of calculus, determining how many calories kids would need for lunch, depending on their age, activity level, etc.

“From the time they get the problem, until the time they’ve got to turn in this incredibly detailed, complicated solution, they’ve got 14 hours, so they’ve got to divide and conquer, somebody starts on this part, somebody starts modeling,” said Blachly.

“Our school hasn’t put a team together for this in my memory, and I’ve been here 17 years,” he added. “It’s pretty impressive.”

Out of 1,200 teams from across the country, Tech’s team is one of those six finalists.

“I really do think this is a great thing, that we have a team going all the way to New York, to a national Scholarship program, and presenting to some really important people. Not only are we state basketball champions, we can be champions in academics as well. I think it’s important to show that, from an urban inner-city school, that people don’t have too high of expectations of,” said senior Jack Van Schaik.

Scholarships for finalists range from $2,500 to $20,000, depending on where they place.

Arsenal Tech’s team leaves Saturday for New York.

They present their solutions on Monday.

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