Clemson Calculus Challenge presents a battle of math-letes
CLEMSON – The department of mathematical sciences hosted the 16th annual Clemson Calculus Challenge (CCC) on April 20 in the Hendrix Student Center, rallying approximately 274 high school students from 38 schools across the eastern U.S. for a battle of the brains.
Split into two portions, an individual exam held in the morning and a team competition in the afternoon, the CCC test the concepts found in the Advanced Placement Calculus AB syllabus. The morning exam is 40 questions in length, with a fourth of a point deducted for each wrong answer. The team competition, organized by school into groups of 3-8 students, awards points based on how quickly the groups can correctly answer each question.
At the end of the day, awards are presented to the top three finishers in each school division for the individual exam competition, the team competition and the school competition.
Jim Coykendall, a professor of mathematical sciences who coordinated the 2018 CCC, says that Clemson has greatly benefitted from hosting the event, which was first held in 2003.
“We’ve had students that were turned onto Clemson because of this. We’ve had some students that have done very well in the Clemson Calculus Challenge, and then went to Harvard. That’s good press for Clemson when you’ve got kids at Harvard talking about this wonderful experience,” Coykendall said. “Today I can tell you as someone who coordinated the exams, when I see the kids come out of the room after the morning exam holding their exams and having very animated discussions and arguments about the problems, that’s a great sign. It means that they’re still interested in wanting to figure it out.”
Coykendall says that the CCC wouldn’t be possible without the Clemson staff and students who give up their time to proctor the competition.
The Clemson Calculus Challenege was established in 2002 in a collaboration between mathematics faculty at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and those from Clemson’s department of mathematical sciences. What started in 2003 with 54 participants from 11 schools has grown fivefold since then.
For more information on the event, visit the 2018 CCC website here.