OMAHA – High school students from around the region put their mathematical skills to the test yesterday as the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and Baxter Arena hosted the Sixth Annual UNO Calculus Bee.
More than 900 students from the Omaha-metro area and surrounding communities faced off in a head-to-head competition to see who can solve a calculus problem in the quickest time or cheer on their competing classmates.
Millard North junior Khoa Nguyen emerged the as the victor after beating Aaditya Ran of Lincoln East in the final round. Stephan Yaghamour of Omaha Skutt Catholic took third place.
It was a long journey for Nguyen and Ran to get to the final round. Each of the 900 contestants took a written test at their respective high schools, which narrowed it down to 100 semifinalists. The semifinalists then competed in a rapid fire round at Baxter Arena. They had 30 seconds to submit their answers on a handheld device.
The top eight then competed in a head-to-head tournament where the winner would move on after being the first to answer two out of three questions correctly. Nyugen beat Ran in the championship round after being the first to answer three out of five.
Associate mathematics professor Janice Rech helped coordinate the event, which the only competition of its kind in Nebraska.
Rech said the event keeps growing every year mostly due to word-of-mouth endorsements.
It's a lively, interactive competition that also have some live entertainment beforehand. The Calculus Bee began following a special live performance of the live, math-focused comedy “Calculus the Musical.”
Students in the audience were also able to compete in the rapid-fire round against each other on an app on their phones.
"It's just an awesome event," Rech said. "The kids just get so excited, its really fun."
The UNO Calculus Bee and “Calculus the Musical” are organized by the UNO Department of Math and UNO’s Office of Dual Enrollment.
UNO is home to eight unique math concentrations at the undergraduate level as well as three graduate degree programs, including a Master of Arts for Teachers of Mathematics.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.