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'Trimathlon' a fun way for kids to learn teamwork and problem solving skills

Mountain View Elementary School

Late last month, fourth, fifth and sixth graders participated in the district’s annual “Trimathlon,” which challenges students through word problems, prime factorization questions and a lightning round component. Over 100 students around the peninsula competed in the event at Mountain View Elementary School in Kenai.

“Over the years, just seeing their growth in their confidence in being able to compete, and persevere through the hard questions and figuring out the problem solving of how best to get the most points for their teams," said Kristin Morrow, Trimathlon coach and organizer of the event. "It’s a lot of strategy and we spend a lot of time talking strategy on how best you can do your events.”  

One of the Trimathlon’s highlighted events each year is a one-on-one chess match, where students play as representatives of their respective teams. Although nerve-wracking, Morrow says this competition is a favorite among students.

“The chess part as a meet is pretty stressful for the kids, because they are competing in front of all their teachers, all their peers, everybody gets to watch them," she said. "Of all the events, that’s the most stressful for the kids, because lots of people are walking around and watching every move they make.” 

This year's chess champion is Liam Macias, a fourth grader at Mountain View Elementary. He says he’s only played chess since last school year but has quickly mastered the game. Liam competed in a chess match against his older brother and won in the last round.

“It felt really good, my mom said I had bragging rights over it," Liam said.

Liam's mom, Stephanie, is a teacher at Mountain View Elementary and is proud of her two sons. She says the Trimathlon provides them an opportunity to work hard and push themselves as a team.

“It’s not just math, it’s a bunch of different skills that they learn and can take with them throughout school and when they grow up," Macias said. "It’s a fun event to watch and see all the kids come together from different schools.” 

For the first time, this year’s Trimathlon showcased a fourth grade team that placed within the district. The group placed third overall.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL