ALEXANDRIA — Let’s face it. Mastering math facts like multiplication tables can be, well, boring.
Especially if you’re a third-grader.
But Laura Jean Rowe, a third- grade teacher at Alexandria-Monroe Intermediate School, figured out a way to make it fun. Really.
She was with a colleague at a high school basketball game recently. The NCAA Tournament was coming up, when an idea popped into her head.
Why not create a multiplication tournament in Alexandria where students competed against each other and advanced through brackets?
What she came up with was the MCAA, or Multiplication Championship of Alexandria All Stars. Rowe traded March Madness for Multiplication Madness.
Stephanie Baledge, remembered the moment Thursday as the competition for third- and-fourth-graders got underway underway in the intermediate school gymnasium. Fifth- and sixth-graders competed Friday.
“I said that is a great idea. This is a way to make it (multiplication) exciting and challenging,” she said. “Anything you do to make it competitive, the kids love.”
And it showed as students gathered excitedly and waited for their names to be called.
“They were so excited about it all week long,” Rowe said. “We’ve been practicing.”
After the fifth and sixth grades played on Friday morning and the winners were announced, Rowe said, the playoffs were held.
“The whole school came down to watch as the winners went head to head. It was so quiet you could hear a pin, or dice, as the case may be, drop,” she said.
The students paired off at stations. Each was given a 12-sided dice. At the count of a proctor, (Alexandria-Monroe High School students), each child rolled their dice and the first one to correctly answer the multiplication problem that came up won a point.
The first student to score 25 points won the round and advanced to the next level, or bracket.