Saturday, April 5, 2014 marked the 2nd Annual Mathematics Bee for Detroit Public Schools students held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School. The Mathematics Bee was organized to instill and encourage a love for mathematics to aspiring mathematics scholars. This event allowed for two divisions of competing students: 1st – 2nd graders and 3rd – 5th graders. Fifty schools participated in the district-wide Mathematics Bee. There would be three winners from each division and along with bragging rights; the first place winner received a trophy as well as having a trophy presented to their home school to display in their trophy case.
The bee was sponsored by the Office of Mathematics Education led by Executive Director, Irene Nordé, Ph.D. Dr. Nordé indicated to all students on stage that, “You are already winners.” Parents applauded and gave a huge shout-out to their children telling them how proud they were of them prior to the start of the competition.
The morning division of competitors began with approximately seventy (70) 1st – 2nd graders. There were tense moments in the audience as each child was given 6 seconds, 4 seconds, and then 2 seconds to complete an addition or subtraction problem. A final round included two-step addition/subtraction problems, example: 6 + 9 – 2. They were able to read the problem from a projection board as well as hear the moderator verbally give them the problem. A panel of three judges determined if an answer was valid or invalid based on the ring of the buzzer. Several students answered on the ring and were allowed to continue to the next round. By round 4, there remained only two competitors, 2nd grader Magaly Gutierrez and 2nd grader Kristopher Wheeler.
The afternoon division was held in the same fashion with approximately 80 students for grades 3rd – 5th. First students answered one-step multiplication or division problems. Each was given 5 seconds, 3 seconds, and then 2 seconds to respond. Round 4 mathematics problems were slightly more difficult as they were two-step multiplication/division problems, example: 9 x 8 x 2. There was an initial 4-second time limit with many students leaving the stage. Finally, the Championship Round consisted of 5th graders Mohammad Muntakim and Jaelin Collins.
Parents, students, educators and other staff all enjoyed the event. Although most participants would walk away with a participation certificate, the most important benefit was the exposure. The first, second and third place winners went home with trophies. The first place winner’s school was also awarded a trophy. Parents and staff indicated that they were very proud and happy that DPS has a district-wide Mathematics Bee.
1st Place – Magaly Gutierrez
2nd Place – Kristopher Wheeler
3rd Place – Ricky Owens
1st Place – Mohammad Muntakim
2nd Place – Jaelin Collins
3rd Place – Yasin Ahmed
– Story by: Irene Nordé, Executive Director, DPS Office of Mathematics Education
–Photos by: Harold Harris