Over several days, students competed online by answering a rigorous set of questions requiring critical thinking under time constraints based on grade level or course. Peggy Bouldon-Fields, District Mathematics Coach 7-12, said that “each grade-level test is aligned to the Indiana College and Career Readiness Standards with a focus on procedural fluency, conceptual understanding and real-life application.”
“We hope to show students that academic competition can be as rewarding as athletic competition,” Bouldon-Fields added. “This competition showcases students’ math achievements. Students can learn to take pride in their mathematical abilities.”
Eric Beebe, also a District Mathematics Coach 7-12, said, “Our hope is with the emphasis on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) career paths emerging in higher education that our students can begin to push themselves to excel in math. Participating in competitions that provide rigorous tasks and opportunities for them to build critical-thinking skills is a beneficial opportunity for them.”
School math teachers seem to agree.
“It gives our students an opportunity to show what they know by challenging themselves in a platform outside of their own classroom or school,” said George Washington Carver School 87 teachers Laura Baker and Jim Gorski. “It gives their peers a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the students’ exceptional talent … just as we do in sports.”
Warren York, sixth grade teacher at Carl Wilde School 79, agreed that this type of competition and acknowledgment beyond the classroom is important for students. “It provides the students the opportunity to compete with their peers from across the district. The awards ceremony for the winners validates their hard work and the fabulous math instruction that they get from their teachers.”
Lucy Bailey, who teaches Algebra 1, 2, and Geometry at Sidener Academy for High Ability Students, said, “The public awards ceremony is important because it recognizes the hard work and achievement of students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders and gives a chance for students to share and be recognized for their accomplishments.” For her, the District Math competition is the recognition and celebration of the work done by the whole community surrounding our students.
But it is the students who best summed up what the competition means.
Le’Ron F., an eighth grade Algebra student at George Washington Carver found the competition a great opportunity to apply what he’s been studying. “The questions are things we learned earlier in the year, so it’s like a 40 minute review of what we learned all year,” he said.
Center for Inquiry School 84 student Katherine S. liked measuring herself against other students in the district. “The trophy and certificates are the best part of the competition because we know we were competing against hundreds of other students!” she said.
Jaala W. and Atsede Z., both students at Sidener, said, “The fact that the test was timed helped us pace ourselves and challenged us. The test let us know our strengths and weaknesses in Algebra 2. Now we have an idea of what we need to work on.”
“I found out that because the test was timed, the pressure made me freak out, and I lost focus just a little,” said Carl Wilde sixth grader Angell G. “I think that in the future having dealt with pressure like that will help me succeed in anything I decide to do.”
The IPS Math Competition Awards Ceremony will be held on May 21 in Anderson Auditorium at Arsenal Technical High School. District leadership will honor the students earning the top scores.
The competition and the culminating ceremony are a district event that celebrates academics, awards students for their accomplishments and fosters a climate where students can feel proud of their hard work and can share their achievements publicly with their families. This is the 27th year for the competition, and we’re proud of all the excitement and motivation the competition adds up to for our math scholars every year!