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Ready...Video...Action...MATHEMATICS!

is known primarily for its offering of a national math contest for middle school students. Yet, the organization advertizes itself as a "national enrichment, club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement."

And now, it is branching out by sponsoring a video contest for middle school students. The rules:

  • Open to any students in grades six through eight
  • Students are challenged to create a video that uses a real-world application to teach the math concept in a problem of their choosing from the 2011-12 MATHCOUNTS School Handbook, which can be downloaded at no cost
  • The submission period is now open and ends next February (2012)
  • Public voting begins November 15th, 2011
  • Four finalist teams will win an all-expense paid trip to the 2012 MATHCOUNTS National Competition, where they will present their videos
  • Each member of the team that creates the winning video will receive a $1,000 college scholarship
  • At the contest's conclusion, MATHCOUNTS will make available a free library of all the videos submitted, indexed to specific MATHCOUNTS problems, math concepts, and standards. This should prove to become an interesting resource to both teachers and students.

    Note: Professionally, I am in favor of this contest's approach and goals, with two exceptions that need to be expressed:

    1. I despise contests where the winner is based on voting counts, as it encourages manipulation, caters to larger populations, and has little if anything to do with quality of effort
    2. I wish the challenge was to create a video that uses a real-world application to teach any math concept in a problem of their choosing...and not be limited to the narrow confines of the MathCounts competition...but I understand the underlying motivation for this connection