April 7, 2000

Students Discover, Math Is Fun

More than 70 Sweetwater district middle school students competed in the "Mad Hatter Marathon" and "Math Bowl" during the district's first annual Math Field Day events held recently.

"Most students just go through school doing math, but we wanted to show them that math could be fun," said Dennis Williams, one of the Math Field Day organizers. "We wanted to motivate them to stay with math into college so they could go into engineering and math careers."

Two students among the more than 70 middle school students who participated.

The competition, which was held Saturday March 25 at Chula Vista Middle School, was also a warm-up for the countywide Math Field Day competition on May 6 at Scripps Ranch High School.

"The South Bay is not always well-represented at the county competition," said Gayle Maggi, another district organizer and the regional director for Math Renaissance. "We wanted to give the students a taste of what the county competition is like and give them time to practice."

By participating in such events as "Win, Lose or Draw," "Math Bowl and "Mad Hatter Marathon," the 11-student teams from each participating school were able to hone their math skills.

Student teams were awarded first-, second- and third-place for each competition and then their scores were totaled to provide overall first-, second- and third-place winners. The overall winners were Bonita Vista Middle, Southwest Junior-which only fielded a five-member team-and Mar Vista Middle.

In evaluations after the event, students wrote of the day's excitement.

"It was great to see how other schools are doing," one student wrote. "Math can be fun in competition."

"I really liked the activities," another wrote. "I can't wait for the county Math Field Day."

This year's success has organizers hopeful of expanding the district competition to include Sweetwater high schools next year.

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