Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Carle Place High School Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team No. 3432 has been selected to advance to the second round of competition. The team, comprised of students Maria Grima, Francesca Lim, Tom Monahan, Jesus Rivera and Alec Vissiailli, was selected as a top 200 team out of 1,152 to advance. This makes the group a contender for a team prize between $1,000 and $20,000.

“The competition requires students to solve an open-ended, realistic math modeling problem in 14 hours,” said Joseph Malizia, Carle Place’s director of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business. “The focus is on real-world issues that spotlight math as a wonderful problem-solving tool.”
Team No. 3432’s project, “Lunch Crunch: Can Nutritious Be Affordable and Delicious?” focuses on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which aimed to eliminate malnutrition and under-nutrition among children nationwide, and its implementation in schools throughout the U.S.

“Unfortunately, putting this act into use was impeded when the competing preferences of school lunch programs came into play,” said the team in their report. “The three conflicting obstructers were the opinions of students, school districts and the federal government. They argued about the quantity and taste of food, the affordability and the need-based support in regard to promoting healthy eating lifestyles, respectively. Two major problems that resulted from this situation were the increase of school lunch prices and a decrease in student participation in purchasing school lunches, thus causing a financial calamity within schools.”

In their research, the team discovered that a majority of students are taking in more calories than they need, but from the wrong kinds of food groups.

“Our aim was to develop a plan that supplied a balanced and tasteful set of meals to be served on a weekly basis,” said the group. “We needed to include sufficient portions of fat, protein, dairy, vegetables, fruits and grains in accordance with the FDA’s standard food pyramid.”

As a result, the team created a menu that would allow for the redistribution of calories to various food groups to keep children properly nourished, and would also allow schools to spend in accordance with their budgets.

The second round of judging will be completed by April 7, and the team will be notified of their status shortly thereafter. The top six teams will defend their project on April 28 at Moody’s Corporation headquarters in Manhattan.