Math in actionPublished 8:48pm Thursday, March 7, 2013
With Southwestern Michigan College on spring break, 180 Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg elementary students swarmed over its campus Thursday.
It looked like a physical education exercise, with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders dashing around buildings in five-member teams.
But they were doing math, counting windows for the lunchtime scavenger hunt that was part of the 25th annual Math-A-Rama put together by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District.
“We get in three of the four state strands for mathematics,” Brian Wood, LCISD instructional services director, said. “Problem-solving, calculators and measurement. Some applications wind up in the scavenger hunt, when they apply their powers of observation or do some estimation” with a container of 1,053 elbow macaroni pieces.
“Sometimes there’s no snow, so it’s like spring,” said veteran presenter Dave Vibbert, who has been teaching fourth grade at Kincheloe Elementary School most of Math-a-Rama’s lifetime.
“Then sometimes it’s like this,” he said, responding to Tuesday night’s heavy snowfall. “It’s been fun. I used to come with Sue Peterson and Pat Nawrocki. We’d go to Caruso’s for a sandwich after our presentations.”
Had Math-a-Rama been snowed out there would be no make-up.
“We need the run of the campus,” Wood said. “We’re using teaching stations, regular classrooms, the college would normally be using.”
Students are awarded individual ribbons for first, second and third place for the nine competitive of 11 events. Team totals are not kept, though Wood said an Edwardsburg group notched a rare perfect scavenger hunt score.