• Tuesday , 20 August 2019
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Productive Struggle: It Does the Mind Good

As January draws to a close, the staff and students at Northland Pines Middle and High School participated in another successful Math Week.

This years theme was “Productive Struggle: It Does the Mind Good”; which carried a strong pull towards computer and technology education. This year, middle and high school students had the opportunity to participate in a virtual welding competition, courtesy of Nicolet Technical College, and a week full of unplugged computer challenges that challenged students that tested their knowledge of binary coding.

Along with welding and computer challenges, students also participated in classroom problems of the day, individual problems of the day, a middle school scavenger hunt, poster contests, a video contest, the Math Survivor contest and of course, the famous Mathematician of the Year Contest; in which students complete daily problems in order to accumulate points that will follow them through high school. The student with the most points by their senior year wins a $1,000.00 scholarship.

What does it mean to struggle productively? Mr. Husing, a geometry and calculus teacher said that “. . . it means to embrace a challenge and struggle with it. If you stay with the challenge long enough, you will be able to overcome that challenge.” Ashley, a 7th grade student at the middle school said “My favorite part of Math Week was the welding competition because it was a new experience.” Mr. Miller, a teacher in the math department, said that “if one student is able to struggle productively and overcome a challenge, than it was a success.”

As Math Week is all about numbers, the proof of Math Week’s success can only be found in such. Last year, thirty-eight students competed in the Math Survivor Contest. This year the contest boasted 55 contestants. Over a thousand tickets were earned towards prizes ranging from tee-shirts and water bottles to an Apple Watch, a TI-84 Graphing Calculator and an assortment of gift cards; all of which were generously donated by area businesses. The culmination of Math Week was the Mathematician of the Year. Laura Garling walked away with a $1,000.00 scholarship.

All in all, Math Week 2018 was a huge success. Staff and students can’t wait for next year. But until then, staff and students and Northland Pines will continue to struggle productively.

*Article by Daniel Evensen

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