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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Enthusiasm for mathematics soars at intradistrict tournament

Photo: Brian Zahn
"Roll a pair of dice and there are 36 possible combinations for the eventual outcome." according to Brian Zahn, Education beat reporter at The New Haven Register.

If permutation math is too difficult to grasp, it might come as some small solace that the city’s 10-year-olds have it mastered.

“We know math,” said Ameir Durham, a fifth-grader at King/Robinson Interdistrict Magnet School. “When it’s up on the board it’s so easy.”

The University of New Haven

Ameir, as well as his four teammates from King/Robinson, combined their problem-solving abilities in a newly established math tournament hosted by the University of New Haven Monday morning in West Haven. A total of 110 participants in the fourth through sixth grades from 13 New Haven public schools worked both individually and in teams to stimulate enthusiasm for math near the future home of the Engineering and Science University Magnet School.

Yevgeniya Rivers, UNH’s partner with ESUMS and director of the university’s Math Zone, said the goal of the tournament was to draw students from all math backgrounds at an approximate 50-50 gender split to foster mathematical creativity and challenge the students to use tenacity and mental flexibility. The problems used, which predominantly were concepts using introductory algebra, were meant to be challenging for the students, but those canny enough to place inside the top five individual performers or in the top three school teams, would win prizes. For those schools that emerged victorious, the entire math class would win a pizza party. For the individual winners, students received a trophy and a book.

Amani Abuhatab and Ciara Mabry, King/Robinson students and teammates of Ameir, both said math is a pleasant subject for them because their teachers make it so accessible...

Lourdes Alvarez, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNH, said she was excited to host an event to promote mathematics education for young people, but she also appreciated the potential to connect students with university faculty.

“Hopefully they get positive messages with all the female faculty here,” she said.

Rivers, who also works as a co-director for a weeklong girls-only summer math day camp at the university for high school students, said she wanted an equal gender balance to promote math to all students, but also to provide representation for girls.

Source: New Haven Register