The local finals of a nationwide math contest will take place this weekend at Forest High School in Ocala.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, dozens of middle school students will converge at the school, located at 5000 SE Maricamp Rd., to compete in Mathcounts. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with competitions continuing until 2:30 p.m. Awards will be handed out from 2:40-3:15 p.m.

This year’s Marion County contestants include students from 11 schools including Belleview, Dunnellon, Fort King, Howard, Lake Weir, Liberty, North Marion, and Osceola Middle Schools; Fort McCoy and Horizon Academy combination schools; and Blessed Trinity School.

The Forest Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society is sponsoring Mathcounts, and Tillman & Associates Engineering coordinates the event. Students compete head-to-head and as teams against each other. The goal is to solve math equations and word problems most accurately in the shortest time span.

Mathcounts consists of five timed rounds – Sprint Round (individual students), Target Round (individual students with calculators), Team Round, Cipher Match (fast-paced oral competition) and Countdown Round (ranks top 10 finalists in oral competition).

Prizes go to the top two teams and four individuals, who then advance to the statewide Mathcounts competition March 20 in Jacksonville. Winners at the state level then advance to the national contest in Orlando May 9-12.

For more information, contact Christine Strickler at (352) 236-0500 or Christine.Strickler@marion.k12.fl.us. You also can visit www.mathcounts.org.