Thursday, March 25, 2010

White Pine Elementary Students Win Statewide Math Contest

Students of Mr. John Keiser’s White Pine Elementary School 6th grade math class won the first annual Idaho Math Cup.

The Idaho Math Cup is a math contest sponsored by Apangea Learning, a web-based supplemental math instruction program that is part of the Idaho Math Initiative.  As part of the statewide Math Initiative, Apangea provides additional assistance to students who struggle in math as well as advanced opportunities to those students who excel.

During the four-week Idaho Math Cup contest, students across Idaho spent more than 22,000 hours solving math problems.

Students in Mr. Keiser’s class worked on Apangea Math in class and at home, solving more than 23,000 math problems to win the Idaho Math Cup. The students were so excited about the competition, they began showing up as early as 7 a.m. to work on Apangea before school started at 8:45 a.m.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, First Lady Lori Otter and dignitaries from the Boise School District and Apangea Learning participated in a school assembly at White Pine Elementary on Thursday to celebrate the students’ success.

“I am proud of the students at White Pine Elementary and all the students across Idaho who participated in the Idaho Math Cup,” Superintendent Luna said. “We are seeing great results from the Idaho Math Initiative and Apangea Math.  Idaho students are not only improving their academic achievement in math significantly, but they are also learning a love for math because they understand its relevance.”

“What was so fun is to see the community that was being built within the classroom.  To see students get so excited. It was getting them motivated. You could tell that they were really feeling successful,” said Ms. Sandy Hadden, White Pine Elementary Principal.

Here are the highlights of White Pine Elementary School’s victory:
·    Students spent more than 700 hours on the program.
·    They averaged 8,300 points per student.
·    The top two students were in heated competition to win a Nintendo Wii. Even so, they would stop their own work to help each other out when they got stuck on a problem.
·    The entire class came together as a team and built a great sense of community as they worked together to win this competition.

Mr. Keiser and each student in his class will receive a Family Prize Pack, which includes gift cards for dinner and a movie. Arthur Ferguson, a student in Mr. Keiser’s class, accumulated more than 30,000 points in his class earning him the title of Class MVP as well as the grand prize of a Nintendo Wii gaming system. Fifteen additional students throughout Idaho will also be awarded prizes such as iPod Touch’s and Wal-Mart gift cards for their achievement and success on Apangea Math.

Apangea Math is just one piece of the statewide Idaho Math Initiative, which aims to raise student achievement in mathematics across all grades by providing intervention tools for students and additional training for Idaho teachers.

Since Apangea Math was made available two years ago, more than 35,000 students have received additional assistance or advanced opportunities. In the first year alone, students across the state spent 40,000 hours doing math on Apangea both in school and at home. Now in its second year, that number has doubled to nearly 80,000 hours. About 35 percent of those hours are spent at home in the evenings and on the weekends.
In addition, in just its first two years, the Math Initiative has provided additional training to 4,000 teachers.

As a result, our students are making progress. Teachers across Idaho have seen improved math scores on the ISAT, including the Boise School District. 

At White Pine Elementary School, which is now home to the Idaho Math Cup awardees, students who used Apangea Math showed significant improvement on the ISAT last year. The same is true for students at Liberty Elementary, another Boise school using Apangea. Typically, the 6th grade teachers have seen ISAT growth in math of about seven points from spring to spring among their students. Since the student started using Apangea, the teachers saw an average gain of 19 points from spring to spring.

Learn more about the Idaho Math Initiative or Apangea Math.

~ Melissa M.

2 comments:

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