American High School Math Exam
In February, our top math students are given the opportunity to take the American High School Math Exam. This is a 25 question, 75 minute multiple choice examination in secondary school mathematics containing problems which can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts. Calculators are allowed.
The main purpose of this test is to spur interest in mathematics and to develop talent through solving challenging problems in a timed multiple-choice format.
In February, our students are also involved in the local JETS/TEAMS (Junior Engineering Technological Society/Tests of Enginnering Aptitude, Math and Science) competition. Students in grades 9-12, work in teams of eight students. Teams work in an open book, open note, open discussion format during this one-day, two-part competition. It requires students to think critically. The questions posed represent college freshman-level engineering coursework and team members should have knowledge of math, chemistry, physics, biology, and computer applications, but being an 'expert' is not required.
TEAMS competition problems offer students the opportunity to see how engineering touches almost every aspect of our lives. Past questions, for example, have dealt with such real-world engineering issues as air transportation, bridge design and rehabilitation, flood analysis, solar-powered vehicles, and food preservation.
There are two parts to the TEAMS competition, each of which lasts for 90 minutes. Part I consists of a series of objective multiple-choice questions related to various engineering situations. Part II requires students to describe and defend their solutions to open-ended, subjective questions related to problems from Part I.
Quiz bowl is a team activity for students in grades 9-12. Practices occur during lunch throughout the season and competitions are on Saturdays at local schools. The quiz bowl teams compete against other schools as they answer questions covering a wide list of topics such as math, history, geography, trivia, entertainment, etc. Our 2015 schedule included 9 competitions.
Several of our math students also compete in local math competitions sponsored by the Great Plains Math League. Unity attends the GPML competitions at the Sioux Center High School in early November and at Dordt College in early March. The students compete in 4 different types of rounds. The rounds include: Target, Sprint, Team, and Relay. Each round has a cutoff score, and all students and teams attaining the cutoff score will be invited to compete at the state championship in April.
National History Day
Our students are given the opportunity to compete in the National History Day competition in March. The students conduct extensive research related to an annual theme and present their findings in one of four categories: exhibits, documentaries, performances or papers. Students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while creating their entries. Students may advance from our local competition to the state and national level.
Each spring, our students are able to research a science topic and compete in our annual Science Fair. They are able to compete individually or as a group. The top entries from our local competition are able to advance to the regional competition in Brookings, South Dakota. The regional competition’s top exhibitors are able to advance to the International Science Fair in May.