Math tournament highlights the skills of ‘mathletes’
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.”
“Mathletes” compete School May 8.
at Montgomery Elementary