Math tour­na­ment high­lights the skills of ‘math­letes’

North Penn Life - - NEWS - By Jennifer Law­son jlaw­son@21st-cen­tuy­media. com

Fifth- grade teacher guOLH . HDrns SODFHG D sHrLHs of cards bear­ing sets of four num­bers on a cafe­te­ria ta­ble in front of four stu­dents.

The stu­dents were tasked with adding, sub­tract­ing, di­vid­ing or mul­ti­ply­ing the num­bers in any com­bi­na­tion to ar­rive at the num­ber 24.

Ilesh Shrestha, 11, a fifth- grader at In­gle­wood, com­manded card af­ter card, do­ing men­tal cal­cu­la­tions then spout­ing a sWrLnJ RI nuPEHrs — FRr­rHFWOy — sR IDsW WhDW hLs com­peti­tors looked at each other and one whis­pered, “Oh, my gosh.”

Ilesh ended up be­ing one of the high­est scor­ers in the an­nual 24 Math Tour­na­ment, held May 8 at Mont­gomery El­e­men­tary School.

Ten of North Penn’s el­e­men­tary schools have 24 Clubs, in which stu­dents meet reg­u­larly to do cal­cu­la­tions re­volv­ing around the num­ber 24.

Each build­ing holds a com­pe­ti­tion, then sends the high­est scor­ers to the dis­trictwide match. A to­tal of 96 stu­dents par­tic­i­pated on a re­cent Wed­nes­day.

Par­ents sat in chairs set up in the back of the cafe­te­ria and craned their necks to see as the stu- dents com­peted in three rounds, mov­ing to dif­fer­ent ta­bles to be paired up with dif­fer­ent stu­dents. In most in­stances, stu­dents com­peted against those from other schools.

7hH HvHnW wDs RrJDnL] HG by Stephanie Sch­wab, the dis­trict’s math cur­ricu­lum su­per­vi­sor.

“It lets them show­case their math skills,” she said. “Math is fun and they re­ally en­joy it.”

7hH ILrsW SODFH SrL] H Ls $ 24; sec­ond place is $ 18 and third is $ 12. The money is awarded in the form of a TD Bank gift card, do­nated by the bank.

“It’s very com­pet­i­tive, so com­pet­i­tive,” said Rosa Ap­ple, a math as­sisWDnW DW $. 0. . uOS EOHPHn­tary School and co- ad­viser of the school’s 24 Club. “To them math is like a Su]] OH Rr ErDLn WHDsHr. , W’s a chal­lenge, and they’re stu­dents who like to be chal­lenged.”

Dur­ing a break be­tween the sec­ond and third rRunGs, - DnDvL . DnDJD­sun­daram, 11, a sixth- grader at In­gle­wood, said she likes to par­tic­i­pate in the 24 Club and the tour­na­ment “be­cause it’s a game. It’s fun and easy to do.”

. HDrns sDLG shH’s EHHn in­volved with the 24 Math Tour­na­ment for eight years, and the fast stu­dents run cir­cles around her.

“The event is very well- run and I’m so glad that they do this be­cause it’s not an ath­letic event, but they still com­pete,” she said. “They’re math­letes, ba­si­cally. Their brains are just wired dif­fer­ently. They get the an­swers like that.”

gef­frey Ma­cosko, prin­ci­pal of Bri­dle Path El­e­men­tary School, played the role of em­cee for the event. Af­ter all three rounds, he asked all the stu­dents to stand. He started at five and counted up in in­cre­ments of five, ask­ing stu­dents whose score falls at or above that fig­ure to stay on their feet.

“Re­main stand­ing if you scored 50 or more,” Ma­cosko said, then paused and called for a round of ap­plause for the stand­ing stu­dents.

Ten­sion in the cafe­te­ria built as he con­tin­ued count­ing up. Seven stu­dents re­mained stand­ing when he called out “85 or more,” five re­mained stand­ing when he called out “90 or more.”

A few mo­ments later, WhH ILnDO WhrHH HPHrJHG — g. P. Grat­tan of Mont­gomery, Billy Wang of Bri­dle Path and Sa­muel Lee of Wal­ton Farm.

Stu­dents gath­ered around the three win­ners and con­grat­u­lated them, and many pho­tos were snapped.

g. P., whose score was 130, said this was his third year com­pet­ing in the tour­na­ment. Dur­ing the last two years, he came in fourth.

“It feels re­ally good,” he said, his smile show­ing his red braces. “I wanted to at OHDsW finLsh WhLrG, sR , JRW that, and some­thing ex­tra.”

His mother, Deena Grat­tan, said she was proud of her son.

“I have an en­gi­neer­ing de­gree and I can’t even win cards off of him,” she said. “We’ll prob­a­bly let him pick din­ner and dessert tonight.”

Photo by Mark C. Pso­ras

“Math­letes” com­pete School May 8.

at Mont­gomery El­e­men­tary

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