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posted: Thu, Apr 20th, 2017
Emma Maggio, Katie Keegan, and Sienna Volpe completed the most math problems which helped two seventh grade math classes donate rice to countries in need 

Battling world hunger with math

Vanessa Ambrosi's honors math students have fed someone in the Third World for more than a month – just by learning. The two classes competed against each other to see which could solve the most math problems on a website that donates rice to the U.N. World Food Programme for each correct answer.

In total, the seventh-graders solved more than 86,000 math problems on Freerice.com. That equates to a donation of 18,000 grams of rice (almost 40 pounds).

Students worked on the website at home in their spare time.

"The competition motivated them to further their learning on their own," said Ms. Ambrosi. "They chose to do it themselves, it wasn't an assignment. Over just one weekend they earned more than 10,000 grams of rice."

The winner of the competition was Ms. Ambrosi's sixth period class which had the three students with the most problems solved. Katie Keegan led the way, solving almost 24,000 math problems. Emma Maggio took 2nd place with more than 19,600 correct questions. Sienne Volpe was 3rd with about 5,100 math problems solved. 

Freerice.com is a non-profit organization that is owned by and supports the U.N. World Food Programme. Advertisers on the site such as Walmart and Dodge provide the funding. (A different banner ad is shown for each correct response.) 

Anyone can answer questions on Freerice.com and help combat hunger in the Third World. Besides math, categories of questions include grammar, vocabulary, world languages, world geography, capital cities, human anatomy, and chemical symbols.

Since its inception in 2007, Freerice.com has distributed more than 2 billion grams of rice (4.4 million pounds) to countries where chronic hunger exists. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Myanmar, Nepal, and Uganda are some of the countries that have benefited. 

Justin John, Aditya Menon, and Jai Amin show off their trophy and charging station prototypes

MOMS students win big at STEAM conference

The students in the school's Technology Student Association (TSA) scored high honors in the New Jersey TSA State Conference, taking home 1st place awards in 10 events, a 2nd place award, and 3rd place awards in three events. At the conference, held at the College of New Jersey, the 50 MOMS students competed against students from nearly two dozen middle schools throughout the state in 25 competitions involving STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).

Among the highlights was the 1st-place-winning project in the mass production category which tasks students to manufacture a marketable object and submit documentation so that it could be easily duplicated. Jai Amin, Justin John, and Aditya Menon created a sleek and well-designed charging station for portable electronic devices. Their charging station was constructed from plexiglass, padded with felt, and illuminated using motion-sensing LEDs. It also included a small drawer intended to hold office supplies.

Another notable project was in the category of medical technology. Challenged with researching a contemporary medical issue and documenting their research, Aimee Shea and Kelly Collins investigated a topic that sounds like it's straight out of science fiction: 3-D bioprinting of human organs. The report and presentation created by the students explained the still-developing procedures as a possible solution for the global shortage of donor organs needed for transplants.

"One of the things I thought was really interesting is the psychological effects of receiving donated organs," said Kelly. "The transplant patients often feel a sense of guilt that they're benefitting from people dying. With bioprinting, that impact wouldn't exist."

Aimee and Kelly also examined the ethical, economic, and environmental impacts of the new technology.

Other interesting MOMS projects were student-created catapults, balsa wood gliders, CO2 dragsters, and solar cars.

Beth Cohen is the school's TSA advisor.

Here's a complete list of the winning students:

Biotechnology Design
Siya Kulkarni, Victoria Tang, Aveena Khanderia – 1st place

CAD Foundations
Yogesh Mohapatra – 1st place

Career Prep
Aditya Menon – 1st place

Challenging Technology Issues
Olivia Aghabi and Shana Soyfer – 3rd place

Electrical Applications
Lily Steindinger – 1st place

Josh Regala – 3rd place

Mass Production
Jai Amin, Aditya Menon, and Justin John – 1st place

Medical Technology
Aimee Shea and Kelly Collins – 1st place
Akila Venkatraman, Varshini Chinthareddy, Alice Parl , and Henita Lawrence – 2nd place

Prepared Speech
Siya Kulkarni – 1st place

Structural Engineering
Logan Hallihan and Justin John – 1st place

System Control Technology
Ayush Chakraborty, Vinay Jagadeesh, Vedh Kouth, and AJ McKay – 1st place

Tech Bowl
Vedh Koutha, Bryan Thomas, and Akila Venkatraman – 1st place

Video Game Design
Greg Lake, Nick Tarallo, Logan Hallihan, AJ McKay, Alish Husain, & Josh Regala – 3rd place

Kelly Collins and Aimee Shea hold their first place trophy

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