By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County students plan to participate in the 48th-annual Redwood Empire Mathematics Tournament this Saturday at Humboldt State University.

The event challenges seventh through 12th grade students who are chosen by their teachers, to pit their knowledge of mathematics against other pupils in a competitive day-long event.

College of the Redwoods arithmetic and calculus teacher Tami Matsumoto is one of this year's invited speakers.

She will take part in andquot;Way Cool Math at College of the Redwoods,andquot; along with David Arnold, Michael Butler and Bruce Wagner.

andquot;I do a lot in the area of math education,andquot; Matsumoto said. andquot;I feel like a math ambassador.andquot;

Matsumoto also takes part in KEET TV's Saturday show andquot;Homework Hotline,andquot; in which students call in with math questions related to their homework assignments.

She understands that some students fear, or simply don't understand or care for math. She's been there before - with English classes.

andquot;I try to do as much as I can to make math fun and accessible,andquot; Matsumoto said.

This year about 100 students will compete. Forty-five are from Del Norte County - 10 from Smith River, 22 from Crescent Elk and 13 from Del Norte High School.

andquot;(Del Norte County) might be better represented than Humboldt County,andquot; said Event Director Jeff Haag, who teaches mathematics at HSU.

Prizes are in the offering, too. Haag said that andquot;fully two-thirds of the winners will get a book, and winners will get a nicer book.andquot;

The top scoring 12th-grade winner who attends Humboldt State will get a $500 scholarship.