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    2009 Math Steeplechase is Bigger and Better Than Ever

    Benard School of Education

    Fifth Graders from RIver Oaks School compete to solve logic problems as School of Education student, Hannah Rogers, scores their work.Tara Runnells, a recent School of Education graduate and current 4th teacher in San Jose, California, had fond memories of participating in a "Math Steeplechase," when she was growing up in a community outside of Sacramento. She remembered the team competition around math and critical thinking problems as a "really fun thing" and thought it would be great if the School of Education's Math, Science, and Critical Thinking Club sponsored a Steeplechase for a local school.

    In the four years it has been in existence, the School of Education's Math Steeplechase has grown from serving 60 4th and 5th graders in one local school to serving more than 350 young students who spend the day on campus, competing in teams to solve mathematics and critical thinking problems, touring campus, and learning about college and what they can do now to prepare for it.

    The School of Education students in the Math, Science, and Critical Thinking Club plan the day for the young people and their families and teachers, spending countless hours designing activities that are aligned with the California Math Standards that can both challenge and engage active pre-teens. They also organize a campus tour that is built around a scavenger hunt, sending groups of young people across Pacific's beautiful campus to discover small and large facts about the University. Dr. Greg Potter, sponsor of the Math, Science, and Critical Thinking Club, notes that the student led event "gives future teachers a terrific opportunity to provide service and to learn how to create exciting, engaging learning opportunities in math." Yesenia Trejo, 2007-2008 president of the Club, agrees with Dr. Potter, "Running the Math Steeplechase is great fun, and it gives us invaluable experience." And one of the young students, Lakeisha McGee, adds "This is the best way ever to learn math. We get to figure things out and learn teamwork and find out how to go to college - all in one great day."

    The 2009 Benerd School of Education's Math Steeplechase is scheduled for April 3, 2009.

    The Benard School of Education offers undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees, and professional credentials. To learm more visit