Game tests students' math skills

May 07, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- How many letters are in the Greek alphabet?

How many zeros are in septillion?

How many years did Marco Polo's journey last?

If you answered 24 to each, you might be ready for the 24 Game Math Challenge.

Greg Eversole, emcee of Thursday's 24 Game Math Challenge at Hagerstown Community College, yelled out the questions and others to more than 200 students who were about to take on the annual game.

The students responded with a loud "24" to each question, obviously ready to go.

"Let's get started!" Eversole said.

On that cue, dozens of fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students bounded down from a set of bleachers in HCC's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center to tables on the floor where they took on their math questions.


In the game, students are presented a 24 Game card and they use subtraction, addition, multiplication and division to figure out a combination of four numbers that equal 24.

Knowing the answer always is going to be 24 alleviates a classic math anxiety of getting the answer wrong, officials have said. The game instead puts the emphasis on process and patterns.

The game also helps students develop strengths such as self-esteem, Eversole said.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for kids," said Eversole, math student achievement specialist at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

There were two 20-minute rounds, where all of the students participated. Then, the top 16 scorers from the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade levels competed. From that round, the top four scorers at each grade level competed to decide the winner at each level.

Thursday's winning students were David Giffin, a fifth-grader at Sharpsburg Elementary School; Aaron George, a sixth-grader at Boonsboro Middle School; and Orin Kuehl, a seventh-grader at Boonsboro Middle School.

The more than 200 students who participated Thursday advanced from "minitournaments" at their respective schools, Eversole said.

The winners received trophies, second-runner-up students received plaques and the top 16 scorers from each grade level received movie tickets.

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