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Annual San Joaquin USA Math Steeplechase Continues to Add Up | Community Spirit

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Annual San Joaquin USA Math Steeplechase Continues to Add Up
Annual San Joaquin USA Math Steeplechase Continues to Add Up

Record number of children to compete this year! More than 600 children from eight schools in San Joaquin, Sacramento and Stanislaus counties will converge at the Alex G. Spanos Center on the University of the Pacific Stockton campus on April 18 to do math. But they won’t be sitting at tables just answering problems. They will be using tools, twine, buttons and other items to demonstrate how to do math. The students are competing in the 10th annual Math Steeplechase, a competition where teams of fifth-graders have to solve complex math problems in a matter of minutes. The event will start at 8:30 a.m. Parents are invited to watch the event, but are asked to not distract the children or blurt out answers. The event draws participants from San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Sacramento counties. This year’s new schools include Foulks Ranch Elementary from Elk Grove and Reese Elementary School from Lodi. “Many schools want to compete in this contest because it’s a fun way to show the practical applications of math,” said event organizer Greg Potter, a professor in the Benerd School of Education. “Besides showing their math prowess, for many of these students, this also will be their first visit to a college campus, and we think that also will have a deep impact on the children.” During the Math Steeplechase, students are split into teams of five to six. Each team is then escorted to a table with props on it and a mathematical problem involving those props. They have 10 minutes to solve it as a group. Each group is then scored by a judge at the table. This year’s Steeplechase is being hosted by Pacific’s Athletics Department and the Benerd School of Education. To give the students a break during the day, they also will participate in a scavenger hunt on the Stockton campus. Additionally, the athletics department will have activities for the students during the day. The Physics Department and Chemistry Department will also be providing an opportunity for students to explore the solar system and chemical interactions while visiting Pacific. For more information about this year’s Math Steeplechase or to register a school for next year, call or e-mail Gregory Potter at 209.946.2672 or gpotter@pacific.edu.

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