Quick: What is the sum of the first five odd positive integers?
If you stopped cold trying to remember what an integer is, you’d be no match for more than 80 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from 16 states and Canada who on April 4 and 5 attended the ninth annual National Math Competition for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
The students—many of them wearing colorful team T-shirts—participated in two days worth of tasks that measured their speed, accuracy, teamwork and math skills. Winners received cash prizes, trophies and bragging rights. And they probably could tell you the correct answer to that integer question is 25.
“We noticed that students who have competitions in their schools do better academically, so this is a good way for them to improve their math skills,” said Mark Sommer, senior director of NTID’s Outreach Consortium.
There were team competitions and individual competitions, where students were given questions on an overhead projector. They had to write their answer on a paper, circle it, and push a signal that activated a strobe light within a matter of seconds. The first to get the correct answer got the point.
In addition to the competition, the students got to socialize with their peers and make new friends from across the country.
Heather Emerson Jeremy, math coordinator for the competition, told students they’ve “worked long and hard. Now you can call yourselves mathletes. Maybe you are all math whizzes by now.”
NTID, one of nine colleges of RIT, was established by Congress in 1965 to provide college opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who were underemployed in technical fields. Today, 1,432 students attend NTID; more than 1,250 are deaf or hard of hearing. Others are hearing students enrolled in interpreting or deaf education programs. NTID’s Center on Employment assists NTID students with finding co-op and permanent jobs. More than 100 interpreters, tutors and notetakers support students in and out of the classroom. Visit: www.rit.edu/NTID.