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Students’ wins add up

Schoolchildren show their stuff on several word problems during Math Field Day.

June 14, 2008|By Alison Tully

Several Burbank students achieved medal-winning status after wracking their brains on June 7 to solve word problems at the Math Field Day contest.

Twenty Burbank Unified School District fourth- through eighth-graders were recipients of the medals at the event hosted by the Los Angels Office of Education at Toll Middle School in Glendale.

They competed in categories for conceptual understanding, problem solving and computational understanding.

Students from 24 Los Angeles County school districts took part in the competition, and the Burbank teams included four students selected from each grade level.


The categories tested the students abilities to solve different types of word problems, but most importantly, how they worked as a team, said eighth-grader Nick Wurtz, 13.

“Being on a team really helped our cooperative skills and showed us how working together can help,” he said.

“It allows you to solve problems that you normally wouldn’t be able to on your own.”

The Burbank Unified contestants were selected from 60 students who participated in an after-school math program. To join the program, students had to complete achievement tests and score among the 12 highest in their grade.

In preparing for the contest, students’ math skills were challenged far beyond the classroom, parent Tisha Paster said, whose son Keiran, 11, competed with the fifth-grade team.

“This was a great opportunity for Keiran and I have been so impressed and proud of his work,” Paster said.

“He was waiting for that extra stimulation that can’t come from the classroom.”

The competition wasn’t just a good challenge, but also a good way to spend time with other students in the district, said Keiran, who recently graduated from Roosevelt Elementary and starts classes at Jordan Middle School in the fall.

“The competition showed how well we all worked together,” he said. “It was such a cool opportunity . . . you never felt like you were competing.”

Wurtz and his fellow team members took home a gold medal in the problem-solving category and a silver medal in conceptual understanding.

The fifth-graders placed first in computational understanding and third in conceptual understanding.

The sixth-graders not only won for best team overall, but also received gold medals for problem solving and computational understanding and a silver medal for conceptual understanding. The seventh-graders won the gold for problem solving.

“The process really taught me to be a good listener,” said sixth-grader Nikki Jew, 12, who hopes to someday become an aerospace engineer.

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