March 04, 2020

Math Field Day 2020 will test young mathematicians’ skills

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Young mathematicians from two states will once again travel to Southern Illinois University Carbondale for day of competitions, comradery and achievement.

The annual Math Field Day competition is set for March 17, at the Banterra Center. Organizers expect students from about 40 schools in Illinois and Missouri to attend and compete for prizes. A maximum of 36 students, nine per grade from each school, may compete.

Event tests math skills

The event, which includes a comprehensive test designed, presented and scored by faculty in the mathematics degree program, kicks off at 10 a.m. and runs until noon. Organizers will present awards beginning at 2 p.m. at Shryock Auditorium.

All students will take the same two-hour exam. Topics range from beginning algebra and geometry through trigonometry and college algebra. A few questions venture into calculus, finite mathematics and a “clever thinking” problem.

Workshops, prizes on tap

For the second time, organizers will provide workshops for students between 1 and 1:30 p.m. After a pizza lunch, students will participate in workshops provided by SIU faculty and graduate student at various campus locations.

The top two finishers in each grade, freshman through seniors, will receive cash awards again this year. First place winners will receive $75 while second place winners take home $50 each.

Top-scoring student teams will receive trophies or ribbons in three divisions based on school enrollment size. Students also can win certificates for individual accomplishments in each academic division.

Teacher’s program set

SIU will host a program for math teachers during the event, as well. The program is set for 10 a.m. in the Roger & Sally Tedrick Auditorium, Boydston Center, Room 189, at the Banterra Center.

For more information, contact co-chairs Kathy Pericak-Spector, retired professor of mathematics, or Ron Nagrodski, senior lecturer in the mathematics degree program, at 618/453-5302 or