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A day of Krypto helps students prepare for the future

Published: Tuesday, May 14 2013 7:25 p.m. MDT

Nicholas Vanderwarf competes in the hula hoop in the Weber School District Math and Science Olympiad at Roy High School in Roy Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

ROY —One student peeked over the edge of the stairs, raised his hands and dropped a simple case made only of paper and tape containing a raw egg.

Another student stood in the middle of a ring with her creased and folded paper airplane and catapulted it into the air.

And still another hovered over their numbered cards, brows furrowed, trying to come up with the right mathematical equation first.

It was all part of the 22nd Annual Math & Science Olympiad, featuring 640 third- through sixth-graders from the Weber School District who traveled to Roy High School to compete in games as diverse as Krypto, Set, Tile Trials, the float-a-glider and the egg drop.

“It was easy for me,” said Emma Wiser, a sixth-grader at Hooper Elementary School. “But it got a little harder with fractions,” she said of Krypto, a numbers game she first played in third grade.

Krypto involves addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Students must use these elements and 5 number cards to create a sum number on a subject card. The first one to accomplish the task shouts Krypto and is the winner. Fraction and additional number cards are thrown in the mix for older students.

Students from 28 elementary schools in the Weber School District participated in the competition Monday and Tuesday to help them develop math and science skills.

Joel Frederiksen, principal of Municipal Elementary, said he created the competition to allow more hands-on math and science experiences in classrooms.

“When kids are active the skills they learn are reinforced,” he said. “The knowledge stays and sticks with them.”

Frederiksen said the competition featured medals and prizes to recognize their success.

When the Olympiad began 22 years ago, he said they only had one event and that was Krypto.

Three students from each grade were chosen to represent each elementary school in the Krypto competition. This year 336 students played the game.

Nicole Cypers, public relations and social media manager for America First Credit Union said the credit union has volunteered in the Krypto competition for more than 10 years, and this year brought about 30 volunteers to the competition.

“One of the main focuses we have as a credit union is to promote financial literacy for both adults and youth,” she said. “Krypto provides a good foundation to help them become more financially literate as adults.”

She said the game involves the same skills used to balance a checkbook or figure out percentages.

Wiser was was of three 6th-grade students from Hooper Elementary School who came to the competition prepared for their last year of Krypto. She was joined by Leandra Brinkerhoff, Wiser’s teammate, said she has enjoyed playing the game since third grade.

“I feel like playing with numbers came naturally,” said Leandra Brinkerhoff, one of Wiser's Hooper Elementary teammates. “I like how it made me think.”

Austin Reff, the third member of the team, said it is a fun but difficult game.

“You have to think your way through," he said. “My favorite thing is that you get to experience numbers in a way you haven’t before.”

Kaleb Culberson, a member research coordinator for the credit unionvolunteered at the event: "These kids are really smart,” he said, noting the longer they play the faster they get through each round. “As the hand goes on they hammer them out,” he said.

Amy Mundy has twin third-graders who attend Marlon Hills elementary. One of his daughters played Krypto and took second place.

“Her grandma bought her cards and she would practice” Mundy said.

She said playing Krypto gives students the confidence they need in their math skills.

“They’re way better than me,” she said. “They’re way faster.”

eeagar@deseretnews.com

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