Colonial big winner in year’s 24 math game tournament (year-end print edition)

COLONIAL SCHOOL — Whenever you think about 24 game math tournaments, Colonial School is a winner. Colonial has won the 24 game district tournament for the last four consecutive years.

Mr. Ronald Martucci, a fourth grade teacher, ran the early morning 24 club this year. All four elementary schools in the district–Colonial, Siwanoy, Prospect and Hutchinson–participate in the district tournament.

24 is a kind of math card game created by Robert Sun in 1998. He wanted to find an interesting way to teach kids number relationships. There are three different levels of cards, starting from the easiest 1 dotter–it has one dot on it–to the toughest 3-dotter level. You get four numbers on the card and your goal is to eventually achieve the number 24 using the four math operations, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. The catch is that you can only use each number once.

Here’s an example. A card has 1, 2, 3 and 4 on it.

4 x 3 = 12

2 x 1 = 2

12 x 2 = 24

Early morning 24 club started being held this year in early January. Any fourth or fifth grader was able to join and many did enthusiastically. The school tournament held in May decided the top six students who would be participating in the district tournament. Three rounds of games were played in the school tournament. Each round a few students were eliminated.

At the end of the third round, everyone who was remaining counted up the points of all their rounds in total. This year the six who competed in the district tournament from Colonial were Aidan Resnick, Max Resnick, Thomas Shelton, Matthew Alexander, Noah Breskin and Matthew Canella. The district tournament was held in the Colonial Gym this year.

Thomas Shelton (4M) told the Colonial Times before the district tournament: “I’m a bit nervous but excited to play in the district tournament.”

Aidan Resnick won the district championship for Colonial this year. This was the second year he took the top spot. Aidan received a plaque that represents his victory along with a trophy which is placed in the school. Another proud achievement for Colonial was the top four positions in the district tournament were held by the Colonial students.

Sean Diaz-McCarthy (4M) said, “I am looking forward to 24 next year because it’s fun and enjoyable and it helps me do better in school. It was nice to watch the competition because it was good to see a competition that wasn’t a physical sport but a mind game.”

When asked how he felt about being in the top four, Thomas Shelton told the Colonial Times, “I’m a little sad I wasn’t the 24 game champion, but fourth place is still pretty good, and it wasn’t really expected for me to become the champion because I was against Max and Aidan Resnick.”

Mr. Martucci has been interested in math his whole life. “I always loved math as a child because I loved definite answers,” he said. “I came up with the idea and became the 24 club advisor. It was enjoyable, and I realized it was helpful for kids in improving their math skills. I am proud of all the kids in the 24 club, especially the kids who were finalists.”

Robert Sun invented the 24 game and his company Suntex International Inc. creates ways to teach kids math.

According to the Suntex website, in 1988 “Sun embarked on a journey to teach children the relationship between numbers through a game. The result of his efforts was the 24 game, a unique mathematics teaching tool that has proven to successfully engage students in grades one through nine from diverse economic and social backgrounds.”

“I wanted to demonstrate that mathematics can be powerful, engaging and fascinating,” said Sun on the website. “Knowing the answer is always 24 alleviates a classic brand of math anxiety–getting the right answer–and instead puts the emphasis on the process and patterns, what I like to call ‘the method behind the math.’ Our goal is to use the innovative 24 game as a tool to make math appealing, accessible and fun–thereby helping students to excel in math, science and related fields.”

“As a logical step toward that goal, Suntex created 24 Challenge Math Program competition–or ‘tournaments’ as they came to be know–based on the 24 game,” added the website. “Tournaments activate entire communities and involve parents and families in the goal to raise mathematics achievement among students.”

Colonial’s own champ, Aidan Resnick, said, “I am happy that I was named the 24 champion, especially that it’s my second year winning in a row. I think I did better this year than last year because this tournament I came with more confidence than before, and I think that really helped me this year.”

“I am very excited about it because it’s a very good accomplishment for Colonial School,” said Principal Tonya Wilson.

This story appeared in the June print edition of the Colonial Times.