Skip to content

Elementary math students are up to the challenge

Nearly 500 hone problem-solving skills in annual event

Excited chatter, along with the clicking of beads and clacking of blocks, resonate throughout the gym at Heath Traditional Elementary School. More than 100 students in grades 4 to 7 from across Delta are taking part in the school district's Math Challenge.

For nearly two decades, the Math Challenge has been taking place as a fun way to bring students together from across the district, while challenging their problem solving skills.

Teams of four are presented with four questions. They tackle the questions one at a time and have 12 minutes to complete each one before the bell chimes.

Teachers and parents act as volunteer judges, providing students with feedback after each question is complete. Students then move on to the next question.

"What's really fascinating, and what I love about watching the kids, is sometimes they will go off in a direction that won't help them find a solution and then one kid brings them back," said Donna Bletcher, the district's mathematics co-ordinator. "This is what happens when we give them the time - they solve the problem."

The students are given manipulatives - various coloured blocks, beads and boards - to help them solve the questions.

They use the manipula-tives, excitedly placing and moving them as they work through the problems.

Every year so many students take part in the event it needs to be broken into several time slots, two in North Delta and two in Ladner. This year's Math Challenge is divided into four time slots with more than 100 kids taking part in each and nearly 500 overall.