By Terry D. Wright
For the Daily Call
PIQUA — While many students are currently getting ready to go back to school students in Piqua Schools’ Intervention Specialist Becky Renegar’s Gifted and Talented program were competing their math skills against pupils in California and New Jersey. A total of 14 Piqua second, third- and fourth-graders from Favorite Hill, High Street and Springcreek Elementary took three of the top five honors.
“The competition was called 2014 Game-a-Thon and was hosted by Mind Research Institute,” said Renegar who found out about the contest through one of her student’s mothers who is a math coach in Troy. “The pupils had to design, construct, and explain their own model games using math concepts. We have been working on adding and subtracting fractions this year,” added Renegar when discussing her elementary students’ current skills. In total there were seven teams and all students participated.
The sponsor of the event, Math Research Institute, reported that their mission, according to their Internet web page http://mindresearch.net/about/ is “Revolutionizing math education through visual learning.”
“The idea worth spreading here is that all students, not just those with special needs, can benefit profoundly from opportunities to learn without any words at all,” according to Dr. Matthew Peterson, co-founder and CEO, MIND Research Institute reported on the web page.
Piqua students competed against math students from the states of New Jersey and California during this mid-July event. The local students, parents and family assembled at Piqua Junior High School where they were in video conference with the competition. As part of the contest students had to put their creative and innovative video concerning creating their math challenge on the Internet’s You Tube and visitors to the sites voted on their favorites. The students’ You Tube video popularity accounted for only 10 percent of their scoring, however.
“The students were really excited and enjoyed the opportunity where they used their own ideas to build a game using math skills and having to explain it to others,” said Renegar. Piqua pupils had to explain their crafted and original football game where math was used to make the moves on the homemade board.
“The students were a bit nervous about the video process,” said Renegar, but they quickly gained their confidence as they began to explain their game so it could be reconstructed at the distant video conferencing location in California and played by those students.
Mind Research Institute reported that they believe every child has the potential to be a powerful learner and to acquire the problem-solving and math proficiency needed to compete in a knowledge-based economy. Those talents seem to fit right into Renegar’s program who is already thinking about her students and their next competitive opportunity. The sponsored programs next competitive event will be in January 2015. “I think it is a possibility to go on and present competition in that event and the students have fun while they do it,” said Renagar.