Math fun? You bet. Area elementary and middle school students savor competition and solving equations during annual Math Facts Challenge at Eastern Michigan University

Student compete in Math Facts Challenge 2019 as Malverne Winborne looks on.

YPSILANTI – “Is everybody going to have fun today?”


The answer from more than 200 area elementary and middle school students was a rousing affirmative, as Malverne Winborne, director of the Eastern Michigan University Charter Schools Office, kicked off the sixth annual Math Facts Challenge in the EMU Student Center on Wednesday, May 29.

Winborne then noted the number one rule of the day: Have fun.

“We love having you here,” echoed Mike Sayler, dean of the EMU College of Education, who joined in welcoming the students. “We hope the experience of getting ready (for the competition) was exciting for you. It’s exciting for us to have you here, too.  Some of you are probably a little nervous, but you’re going to do great!”

“Everybody in this room is (already) a winner!’ said Stacey Good, a teacher at the Pace Academy and the program coordinator for the Math Facts Challenge.

Students in grades 1-8 went head-to-head in a series of grade-level appropriate tasks, ranging from addition to multi-step equations, advancing a step closer to the finish line in each individual competition by giving a first response with the correct answer.

 It was a day of high fives, good sportsmanship and encouragement as students solved a wide variety of equations, such as what is x in 2x + 4 = 3x – 4? Answer: 8.

Students from 14 area charter schools competed in this year’s event. Cities represented included Ann Arbor, Detroit, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Grand Blanc, Southfield, Melvindale and Ypsilanti. This marked the sixth year of the challenge and its fifth on the Eastern Michigan campus.   

The challenge, which is sponsored by the EMU Charter Schools Office, ran 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the EMU Student Center.

Among the competitors was Hassam Al-Tameemi, a seventh grader at Central Academy who’s interested in studying neurobiology. “This is my first year in this competition,” he said. “I had a lot of fun, and am eager to return next year.”

Dayvian Richardson, a student from Pace Academy, reveled in the competition and the chance to win a medal. “It was more than exciting,” he said.

Central Academy repeated as a winner in this year’s middle school competition, with Grand Blanc Academy finishing a close second. Riverside Academy East won the elementary school trophy, and Bridge Academy East finished second in another close contest. Individual medals were awarded for first through fourth places in each grade level, and all students received participation certificates.

The challenge originated at PACE Academy, an EMU charter school, under the tutelage of Good, who teaches there. After several years as a school-wide event, the competition expanded in 2014 to include other schools, and later moved to Eastern Michigan University, where it has continued to flourish.

After the team winners were announced and pictures taken, Winborne had some final words for the students.

“Did you have fun?” he asked, sounding the day’s theme.

““Yeeeeessss!” came the answer again.

“I hope to see you all next year,” Winborne said. “And in a few years, I hope to see you (as students) on the EMU campus.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

May 30, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom