Saturday, March 29, 2008
Atlanta Math Fest 2008
Today was Pheonix's big day, it was the next level of Mathfest. Her along with 7 other first graders (and 45 other students from the other grade levels) from her school we made the trek to Atlanta for her to compete. We started this whole journey with absolutely no expectations, and as such we did nothing to prepare her for the competition except to tell her to have fun and do her best. I do not think she understood how big of a deal she could have made it. Chris and I were more nervous for her than she was for herself, which was good I hope.
So out of the eight first graders from her school participating, six of them (out of 200 total first graders) made it to the top 50 and moved on to the second round. Phoenix made it somewhere in the top 30 (between 20 and 30), they only gave medals to the top 16. I was very proud of her. There were kids coming out of the second round room (it felt like American Idol while we waited outside the door for the kids to come out when they were eliminated) bawling their eyes out, they were so crushed. Phoenix comes out looking a little worried, but she sits in my lap and says its ok because the rest of her friends were still in there and she was proud of them! I was truly impressed. So of course I asked her what kind of problems she was missing she tells me, I was astounded at the complexity of the problems they were giving first graders, and they were getting them right. She said she got the problem X + 41 = 185 what is x right but missed the 38 times 3 because she only had 5 seconds to answer the problem and could not write 38 down tree times to add them together in 5 seconds. Right before she was eliminated one of the proctors came out and told us these first graders are doing 3rd and 4th grade math.
The whole event was well organized, there was a a huge exhibition hall with games set up all over, games that encourage math of course. While waiting for their event the kids could play the games and earn tickets to redeem for prizes. That was a lot of fun.