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More than 800 Attend Middle School Math Event

FullTextImage/img/@altMiddle school students from across the state take the AMC8 test in the Hall of Valor in VMI's Marshall Hall. -- VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 19, 2013 – More than 800 middle school students from across western and Northern Virginia traveled to Virginia Military Institute today for the largest ever administration at a college or university of the American Mathematics Competition 8, more commonly known as the “AMC8.” Those students came from more than 30 schools and were accompanied by almost 100 teachers.

At VMI, administration of the AMC8 is a lot more than just giving a math test. “The AMC8@VMI is a full-day event dedicated to creating positive connections between students, mathematics, and education,” said Maj. Randy Cone, assistant professor of mathematics, who organizes the AMC8 administration and related activities each year.

While students took the test, VMI math faculty offered inquiry-based learning workshops for teachers. Afterward, the students and teachers enjoyed skits and presentations put on by VMI faculty members and cadets. They were then offered tours of the VMI post before departing.

The AMC8, one of the oldest and most prestigious math tests in the nation, is given by the Mathematics Association of America as a way to challenge students’ problem-solving skills and increase their interest in mathematics. The test is designed for students in grades six through eight.

Last year, during VMI’s inaugural administration of the AMC8, more than 250 middle schoolers from as far away as Manassas came to the Institute for the test. The number of students taking the test made it one of the five largest sittings for the AMC8 across the nation.

This year, the number registering more than tripled. “We were really happy to see the response,” said Cone, who had to arrange overflow seating in VMI’s Gillis Theater – complete with 300 lap desks made for the event and 150 clipboards ordered in. The United Way of Rockbridge donated 1,000 pencils.

“[Middle school] is the age where the magic happens for mathematics, or it gets turned away,” he said. “We want to reach all of the kids and all of the teachers.”