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Saugus Union School District hosts Math Field day

Teams participate to cultivate love of the subject, academics

Posted: March 22, 2014 10:23 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2014 10:23 p.m.

Sixth-grade team members, from left, Jonathan Kleinfeld, Michael Kleinfeld, Cameron Nale and Dania Salman, work out a perimeter and rate of speed math problem using algebra at the Math Field Day attended by 180 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Plum Canyon Elementary School in Saugus on Saturday.

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Spending Saturday morning at school may not seem like fun to some, but those hours added up to a good time for the approximately 180 students who participated in the Saugus Union School District’s Math Field Day at Plum Canyon Elementary School.

Saturday’s event featured teams made up of fourth-, fifth and sixth-graders from the 15 schools in the Saugus district.

“The students take great pride in being here,” said Mary Jane Kelly, principal of Plum Canyon, adding that the Saugus district has held the event for more than 25 years.

In teams, students hunched over tests and pieces of scratch paper, closely scrutinizing questions that covered an assortment of mathematical concepts, such as algebra, geometry, number sense and statistics.

“I love field day; it’s an incredible opportunity for students who love math and are good at it to come and do math-related tasks,” said Robert Desmond, a teacher at Emblem Academy who helped run the event. “They really enjoy it.”

After completion, the tests were graded to determine the top teams from each grade level.
But regardless of the scores, students were able to score a T-shirt and a bracelet commemorating their participation in the event.

While a primary goal of the event is to try to cultivate a love of the subject at a young age, according to organizers, another main reason is to provide some recognition to the scholastic achievements of students.

“In our society, I think we tend to focus on athletic prowess, and there are a lot of people who get recognized for being good at sports or for being actors and actresses,” Desmond said. “But I think scholars don’t get recognized often enough, and I think this is a great opportunity for students who are good at math to get recognized for being good students.”
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