Math Counts for a Lot

Inver Architecture

Math wizards from 20 schools compete in chapter-level event

Inver Hills Community College hosted the chapter competition for the South Capitol Chapter of Minnesota MATHCOUNTS Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in the Activities building on the college’s Inver Grove Heights, Minn., campus. One hundred and eighty-one mathletes from 20 area middle schools competed in the event, which was coordinated by Mike Marzinske, an IHCC mathematics instructor, in conjunction with Steve Dodge, the South Capitol Chapter coordinator and a member of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers.

“Inver Hills has been hosting this MATHCOUNTS chapter competition for at least twenty years,” Marzinske said. “We’ve gone from about eighty kids to nearly two hundred. Faculty from our Math department volunteer to correct papers. The MATHCOUNTS competition is a great way to spotlight the importance of math in secondary and postsecondary education.”

MATHCOUNTS is a math enrichment, coaching and competition program for middle school students. The program stimulates student interest by making math achievement as challenging, exciting, and prestigious as school sports. The Minnesota program is coordinated by members of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers, who work closely with teachers. Courtesy of Minnesota MATHCOUNTS

Steve Dodge is the assistant engineer for the city of Inver Grove Heights. Dodge has been volunteering his time with MATHCOUNTS since 2003; he has been the South Capitol Chapter coordinator since 2007. He pointed out that MATHCOUNTS competitions start at the school level and then progress to the chapter, state and national levels.

“School team and individual winners at the chapter level advance to the MATHCOUNTS state competition,” Dodge said. “The winners of the state competitions compete at the national level. That winner gets to meet the president of the United States.”

Minnesota MATHCOUNTS State Competition
March 14–15, 2014
Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth, Minn.
MATHCOUNTS National Competition
May 8–11, 2014
Disneyworld in Orlando, Fla.

South Capitol Chapter MATHCOUNTS Competition Results

1st Place Team: Scott Highlands Middle School, Apple Valley
Alex Pan, Michelle Fu, Kenny Ta and Jason Senthil
Coach: Peggy Werness
2nd Place Team: St. Paul Academy and Summit School
Michaela Polley, Richard Chang, Ben Konstan and Michael Hall
Coach: Jenny Borovsky
3rd Place Team: Capitol Hill Magnet School, St. Paul
Michael West-Hest, Cali Rivera, Roland Berg, and Adam Ickler
Coach: Alex Ford
4th Place Team: Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan
Jake Berran, Kevin Huang, Jeffrey Chen, and Ben Leiran
Coach: David Meister
Individuals going to state:
Hughdan Liu, Woodbury Middle School
Andrius Adomavicius, Woodbury Middle School
Coach: Louise Hinz

South Capitol Chapter Participating Schools
  • Black Hawk Middle School
  • Boeckman Middle School
  • Capitol Hill Magnet School
  • Cottage Grove Middle School
  • Dakota Hills Middle School
  • Falcon Ridge Middle School
  • Hastings Middle School
  • Heritage E-STEM Magnet School
  • Highland Catholic School
  • Humboldt Secondary High School
  • Levi P Dodge Middle School
  • Math and Science Academy
  • Nativity of Our Lord School
  • Ramsey Junior High School
  • Rosemount Middle School
  • Saint Paul Academy and Summit School
  • Scott Highlands Middle School
  • South Metro Home School
  • South Saint Paul Junior High School
  • Woodbury Middle School South 

About IHCC Math Instructor Mike Marzinske…

Mike Marzinske has been with the mathematics faculty at Inver Hills for 23 years, having started fall semester 1991. Marzinske, who has a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Minnesota State University, Mankato, teaches statistics, calculus, introductory and intermediate algebra, and trigonometry.
“Math makes sense to me,” he said. “You are always busy trying to come up with a system that works—and you use critical thinking a lot.”

Marzinske’s teaching philosophy focuses on showing students the importance of math in their lives. For algebra students, that generally means teaching essential study skills and providing guidance on developing a college-level mindset. For calculus students, that means getting down to business. “Calc students are self-motivated and fun to teach,” he said. “They are fired up about math.”

To learn more about the Mathematics department at Inver Hills Community College, contact:

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