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World Math Day

As part of world Math Day, VmathLIVE sponsored an unusual contest...and I know about it only after the fact. Basically, starting at midnight on March 14 (Pi Day!) in a their country, students could sign in to compete against up to four other students (K-12) from other countries. The competition involved the rapid answering of mental math problems.

The end result: the contest involved more than 2000 schools, 97 countries, and a quarter-million students participated. In toto, 38,904,275 mental math questions were answered correctly.

Overall, the effort seems positive, even considering the associated commercialism. Lisa Bickel, editor-in-chief at the sponsoring organization Voyager, describes the students involved: "They get excited going online and seeing there are students from another country that they're playing against...The opportunity, though, is really to bring math into the limelight...[and] for students to work together and be successful with math in a situation where sometimes they might not be."

The winning student was Stefan L. (Hong Kong), who answered 41,142 math questions correctly (no time frame given). Not sure if my math is correct, but that suggests he answered more than 28 questions per minute (or about 1 question every two seconds) for a 24 hour stretch! Either Stefan L. is good...or the questions are super easy.

Unfortunately, no American students were good enough or quick enough to make it into the ranking for the top 100 students, led by Hong Kong's Stefan L. (41,142 questions) ....down to United Kingdom's Benjamin E. (11,608 questions). Who will be the first to blame reform math curricula or the WASL for this as well?