Gannon University Buzzes During First Integration Bee
Posted: May 16, 2014
t was a heavyweight championship, the mad march of the math set
(even though the event took place the week after college basketball
ended). It was Gannon University's inaugural Integration Bee.
Around eighty students, most of them from Gannon, but also a few
high-school and dual-enrollment students, prepared for battle in
Zurn Hall, three to a team. The task at hand was to solve equations
involving integration, which, together with its inverse,
differentiation, is one of the two main operations in calculus.
Each team received 15 to 20 equations containing indefinite
integrals of the type that students would encounter in Gannon's
Calculus 2 classes. The goal was to solve them within a defined
time limit using nothing more than a pen or pencil and paper and
the teammates' math skills.
Awaiting the winners was $100 prizes donated by the Bookstore to
be split between four teams, three winners and a bonus prize for
the team with the most creative name. Students taking Calc 2 were
also offered extra credit for participating.
"I was expecting maybe 30 students," David Prier, Ph.D.,
assistant professor of mathematics, said of the turnout. "I think
the pizza and the extra credit did it." Prier took the idea from a
similar competition at the University of Dayton when he was an
undergraduate. Calc 2 is a tough class. Our dean likes to call this
a bottleneck course and it's nice to see the kids get into it-and
they were. It was a heated competition."
In the end, it was won by a team of high school students, Dan
Liszka, Michael Yost and Kevin Cedzo, whose mother, Christine, is a
member of Gannon's math faculty. The most creative name was awarded
to the team called "Just du it," a name that makes sense only to
Gannon students will have a chance to redeem themselves next
semester when Prier brings the event back in a slightly different
guise. "We're looking to do this as a recruitment event where we'll
do derivatives as opposed to integrals."
Math whizzes, sharpen your pencils.