This article was written by two awesome seventh grade students, Ashley Hoernig and McKenna Norton.
The Math Carnival has become an annual seventh grade tradition at the Kennett Middle School where the students are treated to a day full of fun and interactive math activities and games. The carnival was founded by Mrs. Gretchen Coe, a seventh grade science teacher at Kennett Middle School, and continues to be hosted by her every year. This carnival helps the students to prepare their minds for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) Mathematics exam and to recall information that they may have forgotten with fun games rather than practice problems in a packet. It also helps to ensure that the students feel ready and are confident going into the test.
Although the Math Carnival began in 2004, many changes have occurred since then! For example, in the 2004 Carnival, math teachers held small game stations only in their classrooms with about five game stations per classroom with small prizes. The Carnival also only took half a day, instead of the full day that seventh graders today enjoy. In 2005, the entire seventh grade participated in 21 games total, instead of participating by classroom, and the event took the entire day. In 2006, students earned tickets to raffle for larger prizes. In this year’s Carnival, held on April 1, there were a total of 24 game stations and numerous prizes, including gift cards and large stuffed animals. Additionally, while the original event in 2004 only used 50 volunteers, this year relied on the help of 100 volunteers, 70 of which whom were high school students. One thing that has stayed the same, however: the motivation for this fun annual event!
Among all of the games at 2016’s Carnival, favorite games included a duck pond game and bean bag toss. In the duck pond game there was an inflatable pool filled with rubber ducks and students would use a net to catch up to five ducks. Using numbers written on the bottoms of the ducks, players had to order them from least to greatest and find the median, mode, range, and interquartile range.
During the bean bag game, students had to order numbers on the beanbags from least to greatest, but the numbers could be fractions, decimals, or whole numbers. After the numbers were ordered on the bean bags, the student had to throw them into cans set about three feet away.
The reward for playing these games was the many prizes available after the carnival. There were several different ways to win or “buy” prizes. Students could earn a blue ticket by participating in each station in the carnival, so at the end of the day a total of 24 blue tickets was possible. Students could use these blue tickets to “buy” smaller prizes like an inflatable beach ball or a homework pass. Students could also be awarded prizes by winning them through a raffle which had larger prizes like large stuffed animals or gift cards. To be awarded an orange ticket for the raffle, the volunteer running the particular game station could give as many tickets as they felt the students deserved. For example, if a student correctly answered the problem given, the volunteer could give an orange ticket that could be used in the large raffle at the end of the day. Overall, the math carnival has many important components to it that make it all happen in the end, like the volunteers giving up their time to help and people to bringing in money for the prizes.
Ever since its humble beginnings in 2004, the annual Kennett Middle School Math Carnival has been inspiring a love of learning and math in students. The founder, Mrs. Coe, believes that “math is definitely important … even outside of career options, a good foundation of math will help students with their everyday lives.” The Math Carnival has definitely inspired many seventh graders to pursue math more seriously and provide greater confidence going into the PSSA exams! The support from principals, teachers, parents, and volunteers to help increase our love of math and seventh graders’ performance on the PSSAs is definitely appreciated!