Emma Barchus, Joshua Bergerson, Keenan Dahl, Zoe DeSanto, Sara Johnson and Yuliana Krecklau, fifth-grade students at Pine River-Backus Elementary School, participated in the regional Math Masters of Minnesota Challenge in Bemidji on Friday, April 26. The team coach is Steve Bergerson.
There were 160 fifth-graders participating in this year’s competition, and all Pine River-Backus students placed in the top 25 percent.
In the fact drill portion of the competition, where students are given 5 minutes to complete 75 math problems, Krecklau was awarded a 13th-place finish and Barchus took the first-place award.
“These students have given up their time once a week after school for the past three months to prepare for the competition,” said coach Bergerson. “We have been practicing problem-solving strategies, core math concepts, statistics, probability, ratios, percents, basic algebra and working together as a team. I am proud of how far these kids have come in the past few months, and they have become more confident in their abilities as a result.”
Math Masters of Minnesota began as a fifth-grade math competition program in 1989 with teams from 44 schools taking part. In 1995, the competition was expanded to include sixth-graders, and this year there are approximately 5,000 fifth- and sixth-graders registered to compete.
Schools are encouraged to involve as many of their fifth- and sixth-grade students as possible in the use of the Math Masters packet of challenge preparation materials. A team selection test is provided to assist coaches in choosing students to represent their schools.
Math Masters is designed to promote excellence in critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities as well as provide recognition to students for academic effort and achievement.
Teams and individual students from private as well as public schools may compete in Math Masters. The support of companies and foundations for the math competition is essential. Math Masters is supported by the Hormel Foundation as well as many other individuals and businesses.