Socorro Independent School District kindergarten to fifth-grade students showcased their math skills at the fourth annual Math Bee at Eastlake High School, held earlier this month.
Designed similar to a spelling bee and the only one of its kind in the El Paso region, the math bee uses number problems in a contest where students compete against their peers until only one is left standing.
“It allows them to practice mental math strategies,” said Elizabeth Marquez, instructional officer for pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade at SISD and Math Bee co-coordinator. “It motivates them to do better. This year, we had to increase the rigor because it’s gotten easier for students.”
The 2019 “Let’s Get Ready to Bumble” Math Bee featured more than 200 students. The competition consisted of five rounds per grade level. Every round had a different math concept for students to master.
Concepts included math fluency starting with sequencing in kinder and three-step operations in fifth grade. Students had to answer three questions correct in each round to advance to the next.
Kindergarten winner James Kavanaugh, from James P. Butler Elementary, answered every math problem presented to him correctly.
“I really like math,” Kavanaugh said. “But I am surprised I won. I do like this trophy.”
His mother, Denise Kavanaugh, said James gets his math prowess from his father, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and an engineer.
“He’s a natural,” Denise Kavanaugh said. “I’m so glad the district offers this kind of contest. It’s healthy because it makes them think and practice their math skills.”
James isn’t the only one in his family to win the SISD Math Bee. Last year, his sister, Emilia Kavanaugh, took home the first place trophy in the first-grade category. She didn’t make it this year, but she did spend time helping her brother practice and gave him pointers.
“I’m proud of my little brother,” Emilia said. “He is so smart.”
2019 SISD Math Bee Winners
Kindergarten James Kavanaugh James P. Butler Elementary
1st grade Emmett Ruppel John Drugan School
2nd grade Angel Espinoza Dr. Sue Shook Elementary
3rd grade Mason Davis Sierra Vista Elementary
4th grade AJ Lazarin Horizon Heights
5th grade Tyesen Bradley James P. Butler Elementary
Campus sweepstakes winner James P. Butler Elementary