The “Awesome Math Day” event  began with students in a huddle, calculators, pencils, rulers, and notepads all ready to use. 


Peninsula School celebrates “Awesome Math Day”

The inaugural “Awesome Math Day” at Peninsula School began with a flurry of calculators, notepads, rulers and pencils, all in full use as students huddled.

The competition June 11 ended about four hours later with trophies, blue and green ribbons and special awards for awesome math work.

Marielle Edgecomb, middle school math teacher, said everyone decided competition has a place in learning.

“The kids overwhelmingly said that the competition motivated them,” she said after surveying the students.

The idea for a math competition came from two students, Maddy Sanchez and Lexi Whalen, she said.

“They wondered out loud why we had geography bees, spelling bees and science fairs but nothing for math,” Edgecomb said.

She had them write a draft proposal, Edgecomb tweaked it and then Principal Michael Eastman approved it.

Ten teams made up of students from sixth, seventh and eighth grades competed in Awesome Math Day.

The teams picked their own names, among them, “Mathaolicious;” “DELTA Y;” “Skittles” and “The Flyers.”

The students were grouped based on their level of proficiency, a system Peninsula is piloting for the district.

In a nutshell, students learning within a proficiency-based framework move to another level when they can demonstrate they have mastered certain skills. Under this system, grade levels are not significant.

Each team was handed a packet of problems to solve ranging from activities, to puzzles, games, complex problems and simple calculations.

Once they completed a task a member of the team hurriedly brought their work over to a table of peer tutors — four eighth-graders — who then checked and scored the answers and calculations.

In the end, the winning teams for each level were: Algebra I: Joseph Patterson, Kelly Benjamin, Taylor Smith and Ashley Church; Course 2: Vea Beattie, Audrey Buswell, Rhiannon Alley and Blue Howard; and Course One: Reilley Delong, Ashley Smith, Caydon Camboy-Cruz, Georgi Newenham, Lexi Whalen and Ty Pete.

Edgecomb said the problems were scored with the Peninsula Proficiency Rubric as well as a Depth of Knowledge Scale multiplier.

In a debriefing later, the students said they would have appreciated more breaks, higher level problems that present the potential for earning higher scores, a binder rather than a folder for organizing the problems, and, cookies wouldn’t hurt.

Next time?

“The students and teachers have overwhelmingly answered yes!” Edgecomb said.

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