The competition is named after a mathematical constant and a snake, but doesn't have anything to do with either one.
The second annual piThon will take 30 teams of math students from about 15 regional school to Fretz Middle School in Bradford on Friday.
The event has nothing in particular to do with pi ~ 3.14159. Nor does the winning team bring home a constrictor as a prize.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Learning Enrichment Center students Lily Striker, left, and Rachel Lynds practice working together to solve complicated math problems in preparation for Friday’s second annual piThon mathematics competition in Bradford.
There is a python that is the mascot for the event. Each competitor receives a T-shirt. Last year's shirt, "had a snake and the snake had the digits of pi as its scales," Learning Enrichment Center math teacher Kellie Blasco said.
There is also a non-competitive learning activity based on pi scheduled for after the competition.
But mostly, it's a chance for students to challenge each other and themselves - "showcase their math and problem solving skills," a piThon press release said.
Three teams - two of sixth-graders and one of seventh- and eighth-graders - from the Warren County School District will be competing.
Each student will face the computations and calculations category and the computations and calculations with calculators category alone. Then, teams of five students in sixth through eighth grade will work together on the problem-solving and brain teaser sections of the competition.
The tests reward speed and accuracy in solving the problems. Blasco said the students don't often face timed tests and the piThon practice will be valuable for those times they do in the future.
Awards are given for each round, overall individual winners, and team winners.
The Warren County contingent hopes to bring home some of those awards.
"I think we'll do pretty well," Lydia Giannini said. As one of the experienced members of the team - she's traveled to a previous competition - she knows that being able to work successfully in different environments is good for students. "It gives them experience with new environments and they might have to work with distractions, " she said. "If you can do the math, you can do it wherever you are."
The change of venue may be a factor for some students. "There's a little added pressure," Trenten Dippold said. "I'm a little nervous, but more excited."
"I get nervous," Francesca Beuger said. "I'm used to being at school and here."
But the math should be a comfort. "I expect us to do very well because we practice a lot," Beuger said.