Students quantify school lunch nutrition and taste in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Students quantify school lunch nutrition and taste in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Winning teams will receive prize scholarships totaling $125,000

April 7, 2014

Judges pore over submissions in the 2nd round at SIAM headquarters

Philadelphia, PA--East Coast schools dominated the top entries in Moody's Mega Math Challenge, which this year required participants to provide viable solutions to issues faced by schools across the country that are struggling to implement new lunch guidelines mandated by the USDA. Teams from Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, and North Carolina will compete for top prizes at the contest's final event on April 28.

It all started back in early March, when more than 5,000 high school students across the U.S. set out to determine what makes a school lunch easy on the stomach…and the wallet. Participants pored over data, crunched numbers, and used mathematical analysis to determine how school lunches can be both healthy and tasty while staying within district budgets. They created math models to study students' caloric requirements based on individual attributes and to examine the effectiveness of the new school lunch mandates.

Nearly 1,200 solution papers were submitted by teams of 3-5 students working together over a 14-hour period. Then for the next several weeks, more than 200 professional applied mathematician judges, most of them members of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), which organizes the contest, reviewed the submissions and reached a consensus on the six top teams. These finalists will present their findings at the final round of the Challenge on April 28 at the Manhattan headquarters of The Moody's Foundation, which will award a total of $125,000 in scholarship prizes.

Finalist teams, listed below in alphabetical order, will receive scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 based on their final rank. The teacher-coach of each of these teams will get $500 to use at his or her school or for professional development:

Arsenal Technical High School, Team #3374, Indianapolis, Indiana; Coach: Mark Blachly

Columbus North High School, Team # 3317, Columbus, Indiana; Coach: Michael Spock

High Technology High School, Team #2854, Lincroft, New Jersey; Coach: Raymond Eng

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Team # 3377, Durham, North Carolina; Coach: Daniel Teague

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Team # 3379, Durham, North Carolina; Coach: Daniel Teague

The Charter School of Wilmington, Team #3015, Wilmington, Delaware; Coach: Mimi Payne

Teams whose papers are deemed of exceptional quality, and underwent in-depth discussion by judges will receive Semi-Finalist prizes of $1,500 each. They are listed below in alphabetical order:

American Heritage Plantation, Team # 3287, Plantation, Florida; Coach: Radleigh Santos

Carmel High School, Team #3881, Carmel, Indiana; Coach: Peter Beck

Holy Spirit High School, Team #3344, Absecon, New Jersey; Coach: Kenneth Scott

Pittsford Mendon High School, Team #3239, Pittsford, New York; Coach: Anthony Martellotta

Thomas Wootton High School, Team #3363, Rockville, Maryland; Coach: Alexandra Brasoveanu-Tarpy

Winchester High School, Team # 3774, Winchester, Massachusetts; Coach: Craig Mackenzie

Outstanding submissions from teams from 53 schools, listed below, will be recognized with Honorable Mention distinction and awarded prizes of $1,000 each:

Academic Magnet High School, Team #3566, N Charleston, SC

Adlai E. Stevenson, Team #3099, Lincolnshire, IL

Bergen County Academies, Team #3587, Hackensack, NJ

Bernards High School, Team #3439, Bernardsville, NJ

BioTechnology High School, Team #2702, Freehold, NJ

Cape Elizabeth High School, Team #2998, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Cape Elizabeth High School, Team #3360, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Columbus North, Team #3319, Columbus, IN

DC Everest School District, Team #2936, Weston, WI

DeKalb High School, Team #3447, Waterloo, IN

Dunwoody High School, Team #2958, Dunwoody, GA

Evanston Township High School, Team #2957, Evanston, IL

Forest Hills Eastern, Team #3260, Ada, MI

Governor Livingston High School, Team #3147, Berkeley Heights, NJ

Grand Blanc High School, Team #3297, Grand Blanc, MI

Grand Ledge High School, Team #3436, Grand Ledge, MI

High Point Regional High School, Team #3169, Sussex, NJ

High Technology High School, Team #2843, Lincroft, NJ

Hilton Head Island High School, Team #2808, Hilton Head, SC

Homestead High School, Team #2791, Mequon, WI

Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Team #3638, Flemington, NJ

International Academy East, Team #3407, Troy, MI

Kaneland High School, Team #3758, Maple Park, IL

McArthur High School, Team #2697, Hollywood, FL

Melbourne High School, Team #3804, Melbourne, FL

Montgomery Blair High School, Team #2609, Silver Spring, MD

Montgomery Bell Academy, Team #2995, Nashville, TN

Nashoba Regional High School, Team #3699, Bolton, MA

New Albany High School, Team #2825, New Albany, OH

New Hope-Solebury HS, Team #3544, New Hope, PA

North Allegheny Senior High, Team #3619, Wexford, PA

Notre Dame Preparatory School, Team #3210, Towson, MD

Phoenixville, Team #3201, Phoenixville, PA

Pine View, Team #2668, Osprey, FL

Pocono Mountain East High School, Team #3747, Swiftwater, PA

Sacred Heart Academy, Team #2617, Hamden, CT

Saint Joseph High School, Team #3424, Trumbull, CT

Sanford High School, Team #3605, Sanford, ME

School for Science and Math @ Vanderbilt, Team #3642, Nashville, TN

Science Hill High School, Team #3032, Johnson City, TN

Seminole High School, Team #3113, Sanford, FL

Staples High School, Team #3493, Westport, CT

Strath Haven High School, Team #2753, Wallingford, PA

T. R. Robinson High School, Team #2598, Tampa, FL

The Academy of Science (LCPS), Team #3243, Sterling, VA

The Academy of Science (LCPS), Team #3246, Sterling, VA

Union County Magnet High School, Team #3053, Scotch Plains, NJ

Upper Darby High School, Team #2875, Drexel Hill, PA

Washington International School, Team #2937, Washington D.C.

West Morris Mendham High School, Team #4014, Mendham, NJ

West Windsor-Plainsboro HS South, Team #3838, Princeton Junction, NJ

West Windsor-Plainsboro North, Team #2675, Plainsboro, NJ

Westfield High School, Team #2632, Westfield, NJ

About the sponsor

The Moody's Foundation, a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation, is committed to supporting education, in particular the study of mathematics, finance and economics. The Foundation also funds specific initiatives in the areas of global economic development, microfinance, civic, health and human services as well as arts and cultural programs. The Foundation supports programs located in select metropolitan areas in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world.

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $3.0 billion in 2013, employs approximately 8,400 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 31 countries. Further information is available at

About the organizer

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of over 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from 85 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at

Related Videos

  • Mathematics of Data Science - Data Science is Everywhere

  • Using Algebra and Geometry in the Real World

  • Careers in STEM : Why They’re Important

  • Communicating Complex Topics to the Public