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Tucson classroom stands a chance to win $267,444 - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson classroom stands a chance to win $267,444

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TUCSON - The imaginary ice broke up on the Santa Cruz on Thursday with Tucson’s first 100 degree temperature. The actual ice broke up on Alaska’s Tanana River earlier this week, now the statistics class at University High School is hoping to cash in on a different version of Ice Break 2017.

It's called the Nenana Ice Classic, just as we try to guess the first 100 degree day here in Tucson, contestants from around the world try to guess exactly when the ice will break up on the Tanana River. This year there were over 100,000 entries, about 30 of those came from the University High School statistics class.

Student, Grayson Barnes, said the class broke into groups of three and studied every statistic they could to come up with an accurate guess.

“We had people looking into things like average temperatures over the years, people looking into historical dates it has broken,” said Barnes.

Contestant officials set up a giant tripod on the ice near Nenana, Alaska, as soon as it moves a certain distance, the ice is considered broken. This year the break up occurred at exactly 12:00pm on May 1. Student, Madison Manly-Niebel, said one of the class’s entries was 12:01pm, just one minute off.

“When we were doing it I was like we're not going to win,” said Manly-Niebel. “But then the time came in we were like oh my god and we were like a minute off, like this could actually be it.”

It's a contest that teachers April Reany and Deanna McDonald have been taking part in over the last five years as a way to engage their students in a fun but real world application of statistics.

“We just find topics that they're interested in and pull that data and analyze it and they make a lot of real world connections,” said Reany.

At $2.50 an entry, the teachers pooled their money to get the student’s guesses submitted. The grand prize this year was up over $267,000. The grand prize winner has yet to be announced but there is a plan if the class comes home a winner.

“What we're considering doing is donating it to the parents association and the parent association would distribute that as college scholarships,” said Reany.

The class is hoping to hear if they are they big winners any day now.

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