Competition gets best out of maths fanatics

From left, Kelly-Anne Bherends, 10, Emma de Lange, 10, and Catherine Ludge, 10, work together to solve maths word problems at the annual MerriMathsMix at Merrifield School. The event emphasises camaraderie over competition and encourages pupils from different schools to work together.
From left, Kelly-Anne Bherends, 10, Emma de Lange, 10, and Catherine Ludge, 10, work together to solve maths word problems at the annual MerriMathsMix at Merrifield School. The event emphasises camaraderie over competition and encourages pupils from different schools to work together.
Image: Madeleine Chaput

Emphasising camaraderie over competition, Merrifield school recently hosted their annual MerriMathsMix for Grade 4 maths enthusiasts from 12 different schools in and around East London.

While joining up with pupils from other schools, the youngsters were required to work together in teams of three to solve maths word problems of varying difficulty.

“I was introduced to the concept when I was a teacher in Durban and brought it back with me when I started teaching at Merrifield eight years ago,” said Grade 4 teacher and MerriMathsMix organiser, Danielle Tennant.

“We invite schools from all over and they bring their top maths pupils to take part. It’s mainly for pupils who really enjoy maths and it gives them an opportunity to be enriched and stimulated.”

Over 70 pupils from various schools, including African Angels, Selborne, Lilyfontein, Hudson Park, Gonubie, George Randell Primary schools and many more took part in the event.

When the Daily Dispatch visited the Merrifield school hall, a total of 27 teams were huddled together discussing solutions to the word sums set before them.

“It’s our third time back and we absolutely love this event. It’s all about collaborative learning and gives the pupils a chance to build new friendships with kids from other schools. It puts a huge emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving in a team-based setting and I think the world needs more of that,” said Hudson Park Primary Maths Academy teacher, Sherelle Smith.

Stutterheim High School pupil, Sam Wylde, 9, said that he loved the event and had a great time working with his teammates.

When asked about her experience of MerriMathsMix, Gonubie Primary School pupil, Emma de Lange, 10, said: “It really challenges your brain and you get to see how people from other schools work and you learn from them too.”

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