Diocesan Math Fair adds up to lots of fun - Catholic Courier

Diocesan Math Fair adds up to lots of fun

IRONDEQUOIT — Might the next Albert Einstein or Sir Isaac Newton be lurking in one of Monroe County’s Catholic schools? Talent and creativity displayed at a countywide Math Fair indicate that it’s quite possible.

The fifth-annual fair, sponsored by the diocesan Academic Excellence Committee, took place April 30 at Christ the King School and involved 10 out of the 11 diocesan-operated schools in Monroe County. Featuring projects originated by students in kindergarten through eighth grade, the event offered many unique works.

For starters, at the display area of St. John Neumann School, Rochester, Rachael Eckerson earnestly explained to Mercy Sister Margaret Mancuso, diocesan assistant superintendent of schools, how students used pie charts, bar graphs and line graphs for a survey of people’s favorite ice cream flavors.

At a booth operated by Siena Catholic Academy, Brighton, eighth-graders Samantha Kesselring, Julee Martin and Olivia Durr laid out the differences between infinity — which they said is basically everything — and googol, which is “only” the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Meanwhile, students from Seton Catholic School, Brighton, directed visitors to create pictures by using protractors and compasses, thus introducing them to the fun of using angles.

Further nuggets of information were provided by Nicholas Fallone of St. Joseph School, Penfield, one of the student staffers at their “Symme-Tree” display. He directed people to paint a shape on one part of a piece of paper and then fold it in half, thus creating the same display on the other side. As a bonus, visitors got to keep their artwork.

Other displays required math knowledge in order to garner prizes. One intriguing example came from Eddy Miller of St. Louis School, Pittsford, who had devised a rubber-band launcher that propelled a ball toward a sea of numbered plastic cups. He instructed participants to do this drill twice, then take their two numbers and either add, subtract, multiply or divide them correctly to walk away a winner.

An offering by St. Rita School, Webster, featured a spinning wheel designed like a sun. Participants were required to measure two “rays” in inches, write down those numbers and then add them together to earn a prize — a tricky task, since this required adding fractions. Those who felt extra daring were invited to perform the same drill using centimeters.

At a “Fishing for Facts” game operated by Cathedral School at Holy Rosary, Rochester, fishing poles were cast to capture paper “fish,” each with a number on its back. That number then had be used in a math problem of one’s choice in order to win a lollipop.

Athletic talents were helpful for a competition concocted by students from Greece’s Our Mother of Sorrows School. Answering such questions such as “name a sport that uses yards as a measurement” earned game players the right to shoot at a miniature basketball hoop to earn their prize — from the relatively safe distance of three or so feet.

A game board created by Christ the King’s Zachary Searles offered the opportunity to advance and earn money by correctly answering various math questions. The winner was the one with the most money — Monopoly money, that is.

Another board-game theme came from St. Pius Tenth School, Chili, which invited visitors to play a “Math Candy Land” game that also involved advancing by answering math questions. Perhaps the neatest part about this display is that it offered something the original Candy Land board game does not — some actual candy as a prize.

Ellen Ewart, a member of the Academic Excellence Committee, noted that the Math Fair attracted the involvement of nearly 200 students who produced nearly 100 projects.

“It is great to see Catholic schools working together and shown in a positive light. We are very pleased with the success of our event,” Ewart remarked, adding that the fair’s main objectives were to encourage students’ potential, enthusiasm and creativity regarding math; integrate other disciplines with math such as art, technology and English; and “promote the academic strengths of our schools.”

The Academic Excellence Committee is made up of parents, teachers and a diocesan administrator. Ewart said the committee is planning an art and performing festival for next year.

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