A special summertime competition is attracting mathematically gifted kids having fun at a math Olympic camp. The Olympic-themed summer math camp has attracted dozens of gifted student to compete for math gold.
Launched by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette , the free summer camp at the J. Wallace James Elementary School is being sponsored by the University Math Education Department in cooperation with Lafayette Parish middle school math teachers enrolled in the Louisiana Mathematics Masters in the Middle program.
“It’s a challenge (teaching a) different age group, but we are enjoying it,” said Paul Breaux Middle School seventh-grade gifted algebra teacher Corissa Guidry. “It’s neat to see what they can do. Once they know what’s going on, they’re in it.”
The 10-day camp, which runs through Wednesday, challenged more than 40 incoming sixth-grade students from at-risk Lafayette public schools to flex their mathematics muscles. Identical camps took place in Iberia and Vermilion parishes.
Earlier in the week, students used their brains and brawn to build a dome designed to support a certain amount of weight.
“I think they’re doing a good job,” Guidry said. “I’m impressed with the projects they’ve been doing.”
The young, jersey-clad Olympians sat in a circle in the elementary school’s gym Wednesday morning as they went through their drills.
L.J. Alleman Middle School eighth-grade math teacher Lisa Sudduth stood in the center. She told one of the kids to stand up, then pointed at the number 11 on his jersey.
“Is this a prime number?” she asked the rest of the group.
The crowd jubilantly shouted, “Yes!”
“Why’s that?” Sudduth continued.
“Because the only way to get 11 by multiplying is one times 11!” the kids exclaimed.
After Sudduth quizzed the group on prime numbers some more, the teachers split the students into four groups to work on their math skills in the “Ratio Racetrack,” the “Geometry Gym,” the “Algebra Arena” and the “Game On” room.