From left: Anya Lovstuen, Ruby Sullivan, Lauren Johnson, Grace Gerleman. (Submitted photo)
From left: Anya Lovstuen, Ruby Sullivan, Lauren Johnson, Grace Gerleman. (Submitted photo)
A team of four Decorah High School students finished as one of the top six teams in the nation in the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C) USA Regional Contest made possible by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications.

The team of Grace Gerleman, Lauren Johnson, Anya Lovstuen and Ruby Sullivan was designated as a finalist to represent the USA in the 5th Annual IM2C. Sponsor Allysen Lovstuen remarked, “The planning, creativity, incorporation of past learning and attention to detail that these young women showed in formulating and communicating their solution to a multi-faceted problem identified them as one of the top teams in the nation.”

Teams worked at their own schools within a five-day contest window to address the question, “What is Earth’s carrying capacity for human life?” Students identified and analyzed major factors, determined the current carrying capacity using mathematical modeling, and addressed ways that mankind can realistically raise the carrying capacity of the Earth for human life. The judges were impressed with all the teams’ creativity and ingenuity in mathematical modeling and in their ability to explain their strategies and problem-solving techniques in clear terms. Teams earned the chance to compete in the IM2C USA Regional Contest through their performance in the 21st Annual High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

The purpose of the IM2C is to promote the teaching of mathematical modeling and applications at all educational levels for all students. It is based on the firm belief that students and teachers need to experience the power of mathematics to help better understand, analyze and solve real world problems outside of mathematics itself – and to do so in realistic contexts. The challenge is being launched in the spirit of promoting educational change.