250 Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) students spent months in preparation for this day. Working with coaches and practicing as teams, these fifth and sixth grade students held aspirations of being crowned Dynamic Duo champion or Fantastic Flash. As the day began, students were scattered across the Chipman Junior High campus awaiting the start of their various events. Some lined up outdoors at the starting line of the Power Relay. Others were indoors, preparing for the Traditional Relay, Dynamic Duo and the Thinker – all of them ready to begin the 28th annual Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) Math Bowl.
It was Wednesday, March 19, 2014, and students representing 20 BCSD schools were prepared to put their math skills to the test in twelve standards-based events. This year included the addition of “constructed responses,” a new format that utilizes questions aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. Constructed responses require that students demonstrate critical thinking as they work through multiple part word problems and show their work throughout the process.
Hilda Wright, BCSD Instructional Specialist and this year’s Math Bowl organizer said, “You’d better hope you don’t ever come face to face with one of these word problems – they are really hard – our students are amazing.”
Competitors were organized into two divisions, Gold division for sixth graders and Silver for fifth grade. After several hours of mental gymnastics, and foot races, scores were tallied, medals were awarded and the winners were announced. Celebrating this year’s overall top school awards were Thorner Elementary in the Gold Division and Horace Mann Elementary in the Silver Division.
Originally organized by Chipman Math Teacher, Bob Fulenwider, in 1986, the purpose of the annual Math Bowl is to, in Bob’s words, “…increase student enthusiasm for math by generating the same kind of excitement, preparation, and hard work that is required to compete in a championship football game.” If the volume of the cheering during the awards ceremony was any indication, Mr. Fulenwider’s goal has been fully realized.
Ms. Wright added, “I love the energy and excitement of the Math Bowl, but most important is that students participate as a team — they have to work together. It really brings out the best in students and their coaches.”
The success of this event is only possible with the hard work and dedication of the outstanding math coaches at each school and the support of district personnel and principals. Special thanks also go to the math teachers and student helpers from Chipman Jr High without which the Math Bowl could not function. Congratulations to all the students who participated in the competition.
For a complete list of winners click here