When I first began working at CTN, the MathBowl was entering its second year. I thought the idea that the whole Diocese was invited to participate in this math competition was a wonderful way to engage students. I was proven correct and over the last few years I have watched it grow into our largest yearly event!
This year was our largest MathBowl to date. There were over 900 classes , 64 schools, and 20,000 students who participated! I began asking myself why this event and program have continued to grow year after year. In pedagogical terms, Mathletics is a wonderful tool and resource for all Math/Technology teachers. It is not a just a game, although MathLive is a great way to practice Math computational skills to build fluency. When us “old timers” talk, we miss fluency skills. Not as a the primary way to teach a lesson but in the “practice makes perfect” way. However, our students need more than fluency. On that we can all agree. They need a balance. Thats where we see Curriculum Activities. Here is the reason the MathBowl grew; students who were practicing Common Core activities that correlate with their classwork saw the benefit of participation. We work to correlate the MathBowl with the NYS Math Exam. Teachers that are avid users, assign individualized assignments to students throughout the course of the competition. Students are having fun doing math and preparing for the state exam.
Another reason this year’s MathBowl led to reflection was because I went to visit a few schools throughout the week. What did I see? Students working diligently, asking for more assignments, joining Mathletics clubs after school, and staying in from recess to “gather” more points. Yes I really did ! I saw children who were competitive. I heard teachers with words of encouragement when the classes did not make the Hall of Fame. I saw “teachable moments” about hard work, building knowledge, and winning and losing gracefully. Many schools honored their top students with “NUT” cards, ice cream, No HW passes, etc.
The happiest part for me was the Community factor. For one week, students throughout the Diocese form a Math Community. I could not be prouder of the 20,000 students. Everyone who participated was a winner because of the Math knowledge they gained. I am also proud of the 10 Top Schools and the 10 Top classes. For a complete list, click here.
–Submitted by: Laura Hickey, Instructional Media Specialist