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Dells students participated in a virtual nationwide math competition at the end of February.

Spring Hill fourth graders from math and science teacher Ashleigh Ziehmke’s class were some of the students that competed in the Matific Games, which ran from Feb. 14 through Feb. 28.

The first week was a warm up and the second week was the competition, said Sean Tiernan, Matific Midwest Regional Vice President.

“We saw a void in the math space,” said Lawrence Korchnak, Matific Vice President for North America. “Schools have very little opportunity to celebrate math or get excited about math instruction.”

He said the organization felt the need to create excitement and enthusiasm around math in school.

This was the first year Matific brought the contest to the United States, he said. They’ve held competitions in Australia and Israel. They’re headed to Brazil and the United Kingdom next, he said.

“We wanted to increase brand awareness nationwide, gather some leads for our sales team and start to develop really strong relationships, all while increasing a love of math, opening the gateway to STEM and scientific thinking, and reducing math anxiety,” Tiernan said.

Ziehmke said students earn points throughout the competition and at the end, top ranking classrooms get rewarded. She said students are ranked based on how well they do.

“You don’t get more points by being at a higher or lower level,” she said. “You all get points based on an activity you are capable of doing.”

She said her students use Matific throughout the year for about 10 to 15 minutes a day.

She said she’s able to give different activities to every student, as well as hit the standards they’re currently working on as a follow up to the curriculum.

“I think they like it because it’s at their level,” she said. “It’s something different.”

“Each level helps make math more fun for me and that encourages me to learn more,” said fourth grader Dana Vasquez.

“We get to play while doing math,” said fourth grader Cassandra Tepetla. “We get to use fun stuff to solve the questions.”

She said an activity she does uses number lines.

This activity, Toe the Line, is about finding the relationship between a number and its surrounding numbers in a real world example, Tiernan said.

“We’re trying to get kids to understand the concept around a number, the value associated with a number, the relationship between the two numbers, and giving them the opportunity to explore that concept on a number line in space,” Korchnak said.

By doing activities like Toe the Line, students earn points and stars, which they use to get digital monster cards to put into a monster book, Tiernan said. The goal is to collect enough monster cards to bring a monster family back together. He said these cards and points follow the students throughout their Matific careers.

“It’s a great way to keep them motivated along the way,” he said.

“It’s really fun to play with,” said fourth grader Sherlyn Guzman. “It teaches us more.”

“We want to present opportunities for students to learn, explore and discover, to help them foster a love for math,” Korchnak said.