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BMS celebrates World Math Day

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Students from Bemidji Middle School are showing the world their math skills.

All eighth-grade students at BMS are participating in World Math Day, which in Bemidji, began at approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday. During their math classes today, students will compete in one-minute math competitions online against students from different countries.

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"The kids absolutely love it," said BMS eighth-grade math teacher Mary Kobilka. "This is our second year participating."

The Web site, www.worldmathsday.com, promotes its theme of "uniting the world with numbers." It boasts more than 2 million students from 37,000 schools in 200 countries who have registered. The organization hopes to beat last year's world record of correctly answering 452,681,681 questions.

The World Math Day Web site was designed four years ago to encourage students 5-18 years of age to participate in math using a fun online approach.

Each game lasts for 60 seconds, and students can play up to 500 games in the 48-hour span, earning points for each correct answer. The students who answer the most questions appear in the Hall of Fame. Students cannot select their level but will move up as they progress.

It's also free of charge.

Students create their own avatar through the Web site. They are identified by their first names, last initials, the schools they attend and the countries hey live in.

"It's math in a game format," Kobilka said. "They race for one minute. If they get three wrong, they're out, but they can start right away on a new race. Each match they play someone new."

Kobilka said she can attain class printouts on all her students' scores. She even has her own Hall of Fame for her math students.

"It's great geography-wise," Kobilka said. "It shows the whole world. They can see who they're playing against and it shows a map of where they're from."

World Math Day spans a total of 48 hours; however, schools could start practicing Feb. 1.

"This is one of neatest programs I've ever seen," Kobilka said. "I enjoy all the data that goes with it. It even shows me their improvement. It is amazing."

Last year, about 50,000 kids from around the world were playing most of the time, Kobilka said.

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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