Teens Ask: Will the Stimulus Package Work?

Wed Apr 8, 2009 2:14pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

High School Students Evaluate Legislation Using Math, Contend for Scholarship
Prizes in This Year's Moody's Mega Math Challenge
PHILADELPHIA--(Business Wire)--
The current economic crisis provides natural discussion topics for high school
economics and social studies classes-but math class? Absolutely! 

This year's Moody's Mega Math Challenge problem, "$787 Billion: Will the
Stimulus Act Stimulate the U.S. Economy?" asked high school students to identify
and mathematically assess the parts of the stimulus package most likely to
produce the greatest improvements in employment and the time frame over which
this effect would take place. They also had to quantify their findings using
mathematical modeling and quantitative analysis techniques, develop and defend
their models, and justify their conclusions. 

Close to 400 teams submitted viable solution papers on Challenge weekend, March
7-8. "The quality of the papers was excellent," said Ben Fusaro, M3 Challenge
consultant and Head Judge. "The judges thought the solutions were exceptional
considering that the authors are high school juniors and seniors." 

After undergoing an extensive judging process during the past month, the
following teams (listed alphabetically) were selected to contend for the top six
awards ranging from $2,500 to $20,000:

   Bergen County Academies, Team #119, Hackensack, New Jersey                   
   Elk County Catholic High School, Team #290, Saint Marys, Pennsylvania        
   High Technology High School, Team #58, Lincroft, New Jersey                  
   Staples High School, Team #143, Westport, Connecticut                        
   The Wheeler School, Team #128, Providence, Rhode Island                      
   West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Team #57, Plainsboro, New Jersey  

These top teams will make formal presentations at the Moody's Corporation
headquarters in Manhattan on May 5, when the judges learn for the first time the
identities of the students and the schools they represent. Each team will have
15 minutes to present its solution paper and answer questions from the judges,
who will then deliberate one last time and rank the teams in the final winning
order. Following this deliberation, The Moody's Foundation, which funds the
Challenge, will announce the winners and award the scholarship prizes. 

Judging for the Challenge is rigorous, meticulous, and impartial. There are no
passing grades and numerical scores are not assigned. More than three-dozen
Ph.D.-level applied mathematicians came together during March and early April to
judge the competition, reaching a consensus on the 23 winning teams based on the
creativity and quality of the papers' assumptions, math model, testing
methodology, and summary. 

For more information on the Challenge, visit http://m3challenge.siam.org. 

Awards and Recognition: 2009 ASAE Associations Advance America (AAA) Award of
Excellence; 2008 Excellence Award, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy

About the Sponsor 

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting a
variety of nonprofit education, health and human services, civic, and arts and
culture programs. Established by Moody's Corporation in 2001, the Foundation's
primary area of giving is secondary and higher education with a focus on
mathematics, economics and finance. Further information is available at

About the Organizer 

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in
Philadelphia, PA, is an international society of over 12,000 individual
computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other
scientists and engineers. Further information is available at www.siam.org. 

Jessica Stephenson, 267-350-6383
Project Public Awareness
Moody's Mega Math Challenge/SIAM

Copyright Business Wire 2009