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Local team takes math challenge

The Alexandria team of Taylor Score, Dalton Myhr and Brandon Thoennes recently participated in Moody's Mega Math Challenge, in which they had to come up with a solution for an ambitious applied math problem. (Contributed photo)

A team of seniors from Jefferson High School in Alexandria participated in Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge on Saturday, March 2.

The team, which included Dalton Myhr, Taylor Score and Brandon Thoennes, competed with nearly 5,800 high schoolers that comprised 1,281 teams from 29 states.

Teams have no idea what the problem topic will be or what they will be asked to do until the day of the challenge.

They are given 14 hours to research, compute and solve a practical "real-world" problem.

This year's challenge asked teams to address the issue of plastic waste filling our nation's landfills, come up with the best recycling methods for U.S. cities to implement based on their demographics, and recommend guidelines for nationwide recycling standards.

The Alexandria team produced a viable solution, but its paper was not one of the 175 chosen to advance to the second round of judging.

The M3 Challenge is a free Internet-based math competition that will award $115,000 in scholarship prizes this year.

The challenge spotlights applied mathematics and computational science as powerful problem-solving tools and as practical courses of study and meaningful professions.