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UHV makes STEM interesting with 'mathemagics' and robotics event

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The University of Houston-Victoria is preparing to host its popular Math & Robotics Awareness Day on April 24, and area high school students only have until April 10 to register.

In 2017, 216 high school students from eight Crossroads schools and one homeschooler took part in activities that included mathematics and computer science tests, learning sessions and technology demonstrations. This is the 23rd year UHV has put on the event.

“UHV is proud to host such a popular event that helps students get excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “The university is committed to supporting education in the community, and this event allows students to explore the different possibilities in many STEM fields while also encouraging some healthy competition.”

Students will compete in math tests for each grade level and have the option to take a computer science test. Second- and third-place winners will receive a medal, and each student who wins first place in each category will receive a trophy and an iPad tablet.

Ricardo Teixeira

“Students get very excited about the tests,” said Ricardo Teixeira, a UHV assistant professor of mathematics and the event’s academic organizer. “It’s wonderful to see so many students from our area coming together and exploring the different ways that math and computer science can be used in our everyday society.”

In addition to the tests, students will have the opportunity to attend several presentations given by UHV’s mathematics and computer science faculty. The sessions will look at topics that include algorithms and using mathematics in illusions. Students also will be able to use their cellphones as part of an interactive activity where they can win prizes at the end of the day.

Teixeira will give a “mathemagics” presentation at the beginning of the event, which will show students how mathematics can be used to perform magic tricks. One of the tricks he plans to perform was something he saw in a Penn and Teller magic show when he was attending a math conference in Las Vegas.  

“Every time I do these tricks, students get excited,” Teixeira said. “I used to explain all of my tricks to the students, but lately I’ve been letting a few of the tricks stay a mystery. I like to show them that math is more than just a set of rules, and it can be used in a creative capacity.”

Students also will have the opportunity to visit expo booths set up by various groups and companies including Caterpillar, CivilCorp, Formosa, Calhoun Robotics Class, UHV Math and Science Club, and UHV Admissions & Student Recruitment.

The event is funded by a grant from Alcoa Foundation. The grant also supports after-school robotics courses for high school students as well as summer math and robotics camps.

Students can register to attend the UHV Math & Robotics Awareness Day at mathcs.aiatuhv.com.

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