KCKPS Marks a Decade of Math Relays

Elementary Students Join the Competition This Year


Contact: Tammy Dodderidge, communications manager, (913) 279-2225

A decade ago, students in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) began gathering for a day of friendly math challenges, known as Math Relays. Today, that event has grown into one of the largest and most popular district-wide programs. Next week, the tradition will continue with more students and more challenges, and a more competitive spirit.

KCKPS will host its 10th annual Math Relays from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 15 at Wyandotte High School. The event is expected to draw 1,100 students together for team and individual math challenges. And this year for the first time, elementary students (at the 4th and 5th-grade level) will join in.

"Bringing in the elementary students truly makes this an event that reaches across all levels in our district," said Jarius Jones, Math Relays coordinator. "Since we started Math Relays 10 years ago, we have continued to refine it and expand it to make it a true collaborative problem-solving event that builds an understanding of math in the real world."

The original premise of Math Relays was to give students extra math exercises to increase their math skills and to prepare them for assessments. It began 10 years ago with 400 students in some of the district’s secondary schools. Problems were worked on pencil and paper. Today, it involves all secondary schools plus one-third of elementary schools, and most of it is completed online. Components added over the years have included a Math Relays Hall of Fame. It recognizes students who have medaled in individual events four times throughout their secondary careers. Students inducted have their names placed on a plaque and receive a $200 college scholarship. Another facet of the event that was added several years ago is the college fair. The Kansas Enrichment Network sets up the fair to provide materials and information about area colleges. The idea is to link students to businesses and post-secondary degrees that have a math component or focus. For some students, it is their first exposure to college.

In Math Relays, secondary students will compete in four major strands: algebra, geometry, number concepts, and statistics and probability. A Sigma category also exists for students who want to compete in all strands. At the elementary level, students will all compete as teams working on project-oriented problems.

This year's event will close with an awards ceremony beginning at 12:10 p.m. for elementary competitors, and 1 p.m. for secondary competitors.

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Melissa Fears • Communications Office
2010 N. 59th Street • Kansas City, KS 66104 • 913-279-2242