Finn Ball, 10, of Alstonville Public School, is one of a class of students who set the academic bar high in a World Maths Day competition and scored the highest in Australia in their age group.
Finn Ball, 10, of Alstonville Public School, is one of a class of students who set the academic bar high in a World Maths Day competition and scored the highest in Australia in their age group. Jay Cronan

Hard work adds up

ALSTONVILLE Public School students have added and subtracted their way to success.

The school's Year 5/6W Blues class recently competed in World Maths Day and scored highest of all Australian schools in the 11-13 age group.

Many of the Alstonville students who competed were only nine or 10.

Alstonville Public School captain Finn Ball, 10, was the highest scoring student in Australia.

"I like the concept that you're actually challenging real people from around the world and I like how there's lots of different ways you can solve maths problems," he said.

"It's really fun for all of us."

During the two-day maths competition, students were shown addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and combination problems on a computer screen and entered their answers on a keyboard as quickly as possible.

"Most of us are pretty good at our times tables and maths but it's the typing that gets you because you have to type the answers in really fast," Finn said.

Year 5/6W Blues teacher Dave Wright was impressed by his students' typing skills during the competition.

"They were entering online on the keyboard up to 70 answers per minute," he said.

"Those keyboard skills can really slow you down, so the results show our kids have really good keyboard skills."

Some students competed from other countries and did not use keyboards to enter their answers.

"Especially the overseas countries and the international schools use voice recognition, so they didn't have to use their keyboard skills. I'm quite certain that just saying them is a lot quicker than having to type the answers," Mr Wright said.

More than 1.5 million students from 200 countries competed in the World Maths Day competition and some international students scored well above 2200, which Mr Wright said was difficult to do.

However, Alstonville's Year 5/6 Blues students scored consistently in the mid-range and gained themselves a strong team average.

The students did about three times more study than other Year 5 and 6 students in the lead-up to the competition but Mr Wright said they performed well mainly because they enjoyed learning.

"They just love beating each other and they all go ballistic when they compete. It's just good fun."



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