Math Field Day brings in almost 100 competitive middle school students for annual numbers battle

11-13-2013

They were the Katnisses of counting and the Peetas of percentages.

Hollywood may have its “Hunger Games” but the Purdue College of Science dished out it’s fiery and competitive number games Nov. 12 at the Purdue Armory.

Near 100 middle school students from Greater Lafayette put their math skills to the test in eight different games that challenged their knowledge of estimation, measurement, fast problem solving and graphing at the annual Purdue Math Field Day.

The students were divided into gold and black teams and spent 20 minutes at each game attempting to master the task and earn points for their team. The mini math maestros then moved on to the next game.

College of Science students and Outreach staff ran the games. The activities included:

• “The Rocket Estimator,” which utilized Nerf dart guns shooting at different angles., had the students estimating the difference in distances before blasting.
• “Tangrams and Target Practice” worked on the students’ skills in pattern recognition, graphing coordinates and how to define those coordinates.
• “Bone Activity” blended forensics and mathematics as students had to guess the heights of people by measuring femur bones, both in their own legs and a model bone on the table.
• “Gallons” had the students use 20- and 12-ounce bottles of water in order to find different ways to get to 16 ounces. This game challenged their knowledge on ratios.
• “Make 24,” a Field Day favorite, is a casino-like game where students lay down all the ways they can get to 24 with available cards.
• “Connect 4,” like the classic board game, saw students use black and red discs to try to connect four, but they had to plot their points on x and y axis.
• “Gravity Car” measured momentum and distance with the help of a ramp and miniature car.
• “Match Me” had students plotting graph points with their bodies by dashing back and forth while holding a CBR sonic motion detector. The exercise concentrated on distance vs. time concepts.

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