250 students plus 3 grades equals 24

May 10, 2006|By TIFFANY ARNOLD


Around 250 elementary- and middle-school students were determined to come up with the right answer ? or question, rather ? in the 15th annual 24 Game Math Challenge on Tuesday at Hagerstown Community College.

In the 24 Game Math Challenge, students are given a series of four numbers that they must find a way to incorporate into an equation equaling 24.

That means add, subtract, use exponents ? whatever, as long as the player ends up with the number 24, said organizer Robin Mulligan, a Board of Education administrator. The player with the most points wins.


Students in grades five through seven came from each of Washington County Public Schools' elementary and middle schools. Students from Grace Academy also participated, said organizer Greg Eversole, a math student achievement specialist at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

This year, Graylon Wright of Springfield Middle School won first place among seventh-graders, Abdul Latif of Smithsburg Middle School won the sixth-grade division and Jack Fowler of Fountaindale Elementary School won the fifth-grade division.

The winners in each division received a trophy and a $100 savings bond. The three runners-up received a plaque and a $50 savings bond. The top 16 received Hagerstown Suns tickets and a $5 gift card to Toys 'R' Us.

"The students are excited to be here, to say I was the champ at my grade level," Eversole said. "They're really doing some high-level math."

But there was more to it than bragging rights for Nevin Daley, a seventh-grader at E. Russell Hicks.

"I just like math so much," said Nevin, 12. "It's my favorite thing to do in school."

Players endure two 20-minute preliminary rounds. Players with the highest scores then advance to the next round, with the top four from that round competing for first prize.

Nevin did not make it to the finals.

Nevin's father, Cary Beall, anxiously stood on the sidelines clenching a digital camera as his son competed against three other boys.

"He usually has a big smile when he's doing well, and I don't see one," Beall said. "He's only got 12 seconds left in this round."

Nevin walked back to his father after the timer expired.

"I tried, but there were those two boys, they were like maniacs," Nevin said, referring to two of his opponents.

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