LAMBERTVILLE — Math equations flashed across computer screens as Monroe Road Elementary School students concentrated on their laptops.
Counting on their fingers and clicking quickly on keyboards, the second graders solved dozens of addition and subtraction questions Wednesday at the Lambertville school. The students are among millions of participants expected to register for the World Education Games, a three-day online contest that allows students from around the world to test their skills against one another in math, literacy, and science.
“When was the last time that you were sitting in a math class and you were watching kids [get] excited and smiling?” Cheryl Lykowski said as she glanced around a classroom full of students studying math problems.
The second-grade teacher’s students from prior years joined the games, and this year she registered nearly 400 second through fifth-grade Monroe Road students in the free-to-enter challenge. On the second day of the competition, she helped students in another teacher’s math class as they logged onto a Web site and played live games against students their age from locations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and across the United States.
“It’s made me better at learning my addition,” said Lindy Schultz, 7. “I think it’s fun because you can get someone all the way across the globe.”
3P Learning, New York-based online education publishing company, runs the challenge, which launched in 2007 as World Maths Day. The event has since expanded to include days focused on literacy, math, and science. The highest achievers in each age group are awarded medals and certificates, and the challenge aims to set world records this year for the size of the educational events.
“The idea is to engage students from all over the globe in learning, to see the fun and excitement in participating,” said Peter Walters, 3P Learning chief executive officer.
Students at Monroe Road appeared eager to answer questions. The students correctly solved more than 10,300 literacy questions, which include spelling, and had solved 37,845 math problems correctly as of late Wednesday, according to Mrs. Lykowski, who can access statistics online to measure the school’s performance.
Leo Wagenhauser, 8, eagerly tackled a series of math problems — 11 plus 6, 3 plus 22, 8 plus 18 — in his first game session at school. He practiced at home the day before.
“It helps you learn more on the computer,” he said.
Students stayed engaged in the game throughout their roughly 30-minute math class, disrupted by occasional exclamations of victory or defeat.
“I won,” cheered Alyssa Ripmaster, 7, after a successful round of play.
Some students hoped to be matched against competitors from far-away places, such as China or Turkey, while others grew excited when the game program pitted them against fellow Americans.
The challenge’s global aspect means students learn a bit about geography, Mrs. Lykowski said. She pointed out another bonus: Some students are so engaged in the contest they went online to solve math problems even before their bus arrived to take them to school.
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