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Annual math tournament to be held at Hanner Saturday
GSU math tournament
A student crosses his fingers during a tense moment at the annual Invitational Mathematics Tournament in this Herald file photo. Georgia Southern University will play host to the 2008 tournament Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse. More than 900 students in grades six through 12 are expected on campus for the event. - photo by FILE
    Students from Bulloch County and hundreds more from around Georgia will be “ciphering” Saturday at Georgia Southern University. GSU will welcome more than 900 students in grades six through 12 to campus for the Invitational Mathematics Tournament.
    Sponsored to the university’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, the 20th annual event is set for Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse.
    Schools from as far away as Augusta, Brunswick, Macon and Savannah have registered for the tournament, which will feature separate categories for high school, junior varsity and junior high school teams.
    “It’s very exciting to see so many students eagerly give up a Saturday to participate in this contest year after year,” said Susie Lanier, an assistant professor in the math department at Georgia Southern who has served as the tournament director since 1999. “The students enjoy visiting a beautiful college campus, interacting with students from other schools, and sharing their appreciation for mathematics.”
    Approximately 230 teams from 54 middle and high schools are expected to participate. Each school is allowed to enter as many as six teams per category.
    Within each category, teams are placed into one of three divisions. Georgia High School Association (GHSA) schools in Class AAAAA and Class AAAA compete in Division I, all other GHSA schools compete in Division II, and private schools that are not members of the GHSA compete in Division III.
    The tournament consists of a multiple-choice written test that is given in the morning and team ciphering matches that are held in the afternoon. The written test and the ciphering matches require knowledge of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, but the contestants are not allowed to use calculators during any portion of the tournament.
    The maximum individual score on the written test is 200, which means that maximum team score is 800. The maximum team score in the ciphering competition is 160. Each team’s final total point total is
determined by combining the written test score with the ciphering match score.
    Awards will be presented to the top three teams and top three individuals in each category. In addition, the Arthur G. Sparks Award of Excellence will be presented to any students who earn a perfect score on the written test. The Sparks award is named in honor of the former chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Georgia Southern.
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