Students from Amherst put their coding and math skills on display March 8 in the Educational Service Center of Lorain County’s annual STEAM competition.
More than 300 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders from nine school districts took part in 24 Challenge events and navigated Sphero robots through geometric courses drawn up across the lobby floor of Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Conferencing Center.
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math.
After winning a round of the 24 Challenge in a group of students from all participating districts, Lucas Young of Amherst’s Nord Middle School said the game has helped him improve in many academic areas.
“I find it much easier to work through complicated problems in my head now,” he said. “I just know more basic facts. Math helps you in other subjects like science because you’re better at taking things step by step in your head.”
Students in 20 countries have played the 24 Challenge since it was introduced in 1988. Participants are tasked with using four numbers on a card, which they can add, subtract, multiply, or divide, to eventually amount to 24.
ESC gifted supervisor Mark Millar said while the event is technically a competition, the ultimate goal is to help kids improve their base understanding of mathematics.
“This is really getting them in to coding and 21st century learning,” he said. “The teachers have embraced it, coming in before and after school as well as working with kids on their own during lunchtime. Kids latch on to that. That leads to engineering careers or any number of job possibilities.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.