Junior high students compete in Purdue Math Field Day

Math Field Day 2016

Tecumseh Junior High School students measure the diameter of a foam ball during the 2016 Purdue Math Field Day.

The Purdue Armory once again turned into a geometric, algebraic and statistical playground for 75 Tecumseh Junior High School students at the 2016 Math Field Day

The students were divided into two teams – gold and black – to compete against each other in a series of games that required fast thinking and physical activity. Jumping, stretching and crawling on the ground got bodies moving while brains figured out measurement, factoring, estimation, pattern recognition and more.

The games covered eight different standards in mathematics,” said Rachael Kenney, associate professor of Mathematics Education. “One of the favorite activities was the Woozles, which is a game where students have to pay attention to Woozle attributes -- color, shape, number of arms and legs -- to form a pattern and solve a puzzle. This is a great team activity and the kids had fun working together on it.”

The mini human calculators had only 20 minutes to complete each game and solve the corresponding questions or problems before moving onto the next. The teams were divided into several smaller squads so that every game was being played at once.

Mathematics Education majors led most of the games.

“The Purdue students get to design the games and then see how the middle school students interact with them,” Kenney said. “They learn what makes a task too easy or too difficult and how to adjust it for different learners. They get to work with small groups of students and get them excited about doing mathematics. As future teachers, they get to reflect on the middle school students' interactions with mathematics.”

Math Field Day 2016

Students laugh as they measure their height at the 2016 Purdue Math Field Day.

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