New York State Math Stars Shine in Albany

New York State Math Stars Shine in Albany

First In Math partners with New York State Education Department to sponsor statewide elementary math competition.

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Suntex International Inc. joined forces to bring a Statewide Elementary Mathematics Tournament to New York, culminating in a May 20, 2023 Championship that saw 150 elementary school students from across the state compete in a first-of-its-kind math event at the University at Albany.

All New York State students in grades 1 through 5 enrolled in Suntex International’s innovative FIRST IN MATH program were invited to participate in this groundbreaking tournament. To get to the Championship, students had to compete in an online "Virtual Regional Tournament" that whittled down participants into just 50 Teams — three students per grade from the same school — coming from 10 regions across the state.

Regional Tournament winners were awarded $1,000 for their school. The first-place Team at each grade level at the Statewide Championship took home a $5,000 prize for their school; second and third-place winners took home silver and bronze medals.

The University's Campus Center Ballroom was filled with tables supervised by state-certified teachers trained as Proctors — each occupied by three "very energetic" students, according to NYSED Deputy Education Commissioner Jason Harmon. "We have students from every corner of the state here. It's a really exciting opportunity for students to show what they can do when it comes to mathematics."

"Exciting!" was the first word that came to mind for Shannon Logan, NYSED Director of Standards, Instruction, and Educational technology. "We have 150 children from first grade to fifth grade here today with parents, teachers and administrators all to compete together."

Dr. Santosha Oliver, NYSED Assistant Commissioner from the Office of Standards and Instruction, delivered a heartfelt message that spoke to the nature and importance of the event: "Students who excel in math today will be the innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow."

Each Team of three students worked together on grade-appropriate challenges based on games from First In Math and Suntex's popular 24® Game series.

Competition focused on building “wheels” using four different numbered cards placed on a board. Grades 1-2 built wheels with a sum of 10, with points given for how many wheels were made and if duplicate numbers were used. Grades 3, 4 and 5 had to match numbers with a common factor to build a wheel, with the number of points corresponding to each wheel's common factor.

"This was a real test of the math skills students had been practicing all year, as students were presented with things they had not seen until right before the event," explains Robert Sun, First In Math/24 Game inventor and the founder of Suntex. Sun headed the First In Math team tasked with planning the virtual and in-person math challenges students would face. "Students had to build on the math they knew, but apply it in new ways, demonstrating deep understanding and mastery of not only fact fluency, but procedural fluency, at their grade level."

Watch video highlights of the event

Andrea Faoro, program manager and NYSED Associate in Instructional Services, Mathematics, says the championship event required a lot of cooperation and took about a year to plan. "Everyone from NYSED, the First In Math team and all of our volunteers did a fantastic job, the tournament was a huge success!"

In 2020, NYSED selected the First In Math Online Program as a resource to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) readiness for K-5 students throughout the state and provided free access to all schools. Students use First in Math in class or at home as an additional resource to promote math and improve fact fluency, procedural fluency and computational-thinking skills. 

Part of the NYSED's Expanded Mathematics Access Program (EMAP) for Grades K-5, this initiative exists to provide students with access to online standards-based, math games and activities at no cost to NYS districts or students. The additional practice provides support to assist students in meeting grade-level fluency expectations and is accessible at school and at home to further help families to support their student’s math education. The use of this optional program is flexible. This flexibility can include enrichment/extension, fun summer learning, and/or to supplement/complement current work being done in the classroom.

2023 New York State Elementary Mathematics Tournament Winners

1st grade:

  • 1st place — Bolivar Road Elementary, Chittenango Central School District (Wilson Cary, Brayden Calabro, John Enders)
  • 2nd place — W.S. Mount Elementary, Three Village Central School District (Aurna Chakraborty, Isaac Wang, Michael Gerber)
  • 3rd place — P.S. 144 Col. Jeromus Remsen, New York City Community School District 28 (Mark Wofsey, Kara Chen, Owen Forman-Maltz)

2nd grade:

  • 1st place — Pine Brook Elementary, Greece Central School District (Gemma Pisciotti, Rediet Yilma, Santino Markle)
  • 2nd place — New Explorations Science Technology Math, New York City Community School District 1 (Rinka Akayama, Raima Das, Isabella Lu)
  • 3rd place — Deasy Elementary, Glen Cove City School District (Dru Wilson, Tommy Scagliola, Jacob Palazzo)

3rd grade:

  • 1st place — Nassakeag Elementary, Three Village Central School District (Talinn Kim, Catherine Hu, Easton Tang)
  • 2nd place — George A. Jackson Elementary, Jericho Union Free School District (Eugene Wong, Andrew Li, Matthew Huang)
  • 3rd place — Chancellor Livingston Elementary, Rhinebeck Central School District (Alexander Kim, Somi Rothenhaus, Brayden Traudt)

4th grade:

  • 1st place — Thornell Road Elementary, Pittsford Central School District (Herene Shim, Naveen Madhavan, Kazmir Povelaites)
  • 2nd place — Hinsdale Central Elementary, Hinsdale Central School District (Mya Goodling, Mia Souder, Avery Vosler)
  • 3rd place — Hampton Bays Elementary, Hampton Bays Union Free School District (William Loudenslager, Jack Huebner, Annabel Ramsay)

5th grade:

  • 1st place — Main Street School, Irvington Union Free School District (Nicholas Bugaj, Ella Soleimani, Cassidy Reichgott)
  • 2nd place — George F. Johnson Elementary, Union-Endicott Central School District (Caleb Peck, Sophia Shi, Aidan Lewin)
  • 3rd place — P.S. 94 David D. Porter School, New York City School District 26 (Kyle Wang, Nathan Chen Liu, Gabriel Valladares)

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