Riley students strike gold at Winter Math Olympics

Second grader Caitlin Seidel takes flight while counting as part of an exercise during the Charles E. Riley Elementary School Winter Math Olympics. Students compete against each other and themselves in “Math Sprints” with the winner receiving a gold medal at an upcoming ceremony.They’ve put in the hours of hard work, endured the stresses and sacrifices, and now, moments away from the start of the race, these young competitors are eager to get going.
It could be a scene from any of the venues at the XXIII Winter Olympic Games, currently underway in PyeongChang, South Korea but for a view of world-class competitive spirit closer to home, look no further than Charles E. Riley Elementary School, where the main event is mathematics.
The first Riley Math Olympics is underway and students from grades one through six will test their skills in math-related challenges all week, vying for a gold medal to be presented at an awards ceremony next month.
“The students have been training for the past few weeks and now they’re competing,” said Amy Aunkst-Park of the National Math Foundation. “We wanted to make a connection between doing math and being active.”
Riley has been the site this year of the introduction of an innovative math education program known as Math & Movement. The program seeks to enhance math skills by incorporating physical activity into problem-solving.
In Sheri Dafoe’s second grade class, students are counting by 10s and twos while hopping from number to number on an oversized mat resembling a hopscotch court, practicing adding and taking away as the rest of the class counts along out loud.
“We’ve been thrilled to have the Math & Movement curriculum embraced by our school community,” said Riley Principal Dr. Linda Doty. “We want to use every resource available to us to make sure our students are learning and practicing the critical math skills every child needs.”