Ask sixth graders at Queen of All Saints Catholic Academy in Fort Greene to name their favorite subject in school, and the overwhelming response will be math.
So it’s no surprise that this class won first place in the fifth annual MathBowl, sponsored by Catholic Telemedia Network (CTN), which provides instructional media resources to academies and schools in the Brooklyn Diocese as a service of DeSales Media Group.
Students at the Fort Greene academy were recognized in early May with award certificates and a pizza party, and a plaque was presented to their junior high math teacher, Timothy Dillon.
“I was motivating them, but most of it was self-motivation,” Dillon said of his students’ efforts. “It’s a game for them, but they also know it’s a tournament and they treat it that way. It’s great to see that. They were locked in 100 percent.”
CTN teamed up with Mathletics, an adaptive online math curriculum that uses a gaming format, to conduct this competition among academies and schools in Brooklyn and Queens during the first week of April.
More than 20,700 students representing 900 classes logged onto Mathletics that week, and individually attempted to solve common core-based math problems through live drills and teacher assignments. The classes that collectively had the most correct answers and earned the most points won. Sixty-four academies and schools participated in all.
The eighth-grade class at Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy, Williamsburg, earned second place in the competition. The sixth and eighth grades at St. Peter Catholic Academy, Bensonhurst, took third and fifth place, respectively. Fourth place went to the first-grade class at St. Pancras School, Glendale.
And what is unique about the winning class from Queen of All Saints is that they’ve won MathBowl before; they earned first place as fourth graders in 2015, and fourth place last year.
“They are outstanding,” said Kritzia Flores, Mathletics success manager, who attended the award ceremony at the school. “It’s great to see them engaged and excited to use this math program. What we aim for is for them to have fun as they learn.”
Angela Russell and Laura Hickey, CTN instructional media specialists, also attended the award presentation.
“Queen of All Saints is always our best performing school in the MathBowl,” Russell said. “It’s great seeing the students as they move up in grades still being active and having great energy using Mathletics.”
More than just a game, Mathletics is a learning tool that motivates students to learn and practice math skills through technology. “It really is a great resource to reinforce curriculum for our students and teachers as well,” Russell added.
As a first-year teacher, Dillon is making the most out of the Mathletics program in his classroom, and he knows the students enjoy it as well.
“They like the problems, they like the way it’s set up and they like the competitiveness of it,” he said.
During MathBowl, he was able to track his students’ progress on questions about geometric planes, pattern recognition, ratios and fractions, which he covered in class this year.
Leah Springer said that the live drills help her to think faster and build up her confidence with every correct answer she gives. On a recent morning in the school computer room, she answered more than 30 questions correctly in 60 seconds.
Because the program allows students to try higher-level material as well, Dillon said that prompted some students to ask about geometric transformations, dilations and rotations.
“We actually went into eighth-grade math, but only briefly, because they were interested,” he said.
One of those students is Julius Dorsey, who was the top point earner in the sixth-grade class. While he likes math, he thrives on competition and that’s what attracts him to Mathletics.
Dorsey said the program “challenges me and pushes me to my higher expectations. And Mr. Dillon is always encouraging us. He tells us, ‘Come on, you can do this.’”
And they did.