WELLSBURG - Nineteen math pupils at Wellsburg Middle School had some fun and won a computer software package for their school while participating in an online math competition.
Not only were the pupils the West Virginia winner of the contest for the week of April 16-20, but one, Michaela Mahan, placed in the top 10 of 2,047 who competed.
Representing the school and collectively earning the top score for the state were Aleksey Rasz, Kaitlynne Seminsky, Rebecca Conaway, Gage Yost, Carter Barron, Adam Smith, Markell Oliver, Emily Donley, Mary Ossman, Kyleigh Williams, Mary Koscevic, Patti Gault, Desirae Beaver, Katherine Marks, Ragen Valero, Kaycee Grzybeck, Talon Chambers, Wiley Monk and Mahan.
Linda Burch, a fifth-grade teacher at the school, said she learned of the Sumdog online math competition and she recruited 12 pupils she had coached for the West Virginia Math Field Day competition.
They were a natural choice. Two of Burch's pupils ranked high among fifth-graders competing at the state level of the contest, with Rasz placing fourth and Donley placing fifth.
Because at least 15 must take part, she asked Sheryl Baker, another fifth-grade teacher at the school, to approach some of her own pupils for the contest. Seven accepted the challenge.
The competition involves a variety of games designed to reinforce pupils' math skills in a fun ways, with such names as Starship, Talent Show, Jet Ski Rescue, Touchdown and Bunny Hop. The games test the pupils' understanding of a variety of concepts, including multiplication, division, negative numbers, decimals and fractions, and they correctly answered 38,384 questions.
The pupils could participate any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday that week from any computer once their teacher entered them into the event.
"They went home and did the problems there, too," Burch said. "They have really had a great experience with it."