The sounds of students reciting solutions to math problems filled the Warren G. Harding High School auditorium Wednesday night during the annual Challenge 24 tournament.
This year's challenge brought in 180 Trumbull County students in fourth through eighth grades, and the event has been running for the past 14 years, Tribune Chronicle events coordinator Sue Shafer said.
"We have mathletes instead of athletes in this gym (tonight)," Shafer said before she kicked off round one of the four-round event.
Students were given math puzzles with several numbers that they had to add, subtract, multiply or divide to arrive at the solution of 24, with each number only used once. The first student to come up with an answer tapped the table, then recited the steps they took to arrive at the number 24.
If a student recited the wrong answer, they were issued a penalty flag. Once a student amassed three penalties, they had to stop for the round but were able to keep their current points.
Some puzzles were included that couldn't be solved and for which students also received points.
Clara Taylor, 9, of Girard, and Alexandra Lagaras, 10, of Champion, both fourth-graders, compete Wednesday night during the Challenge 24 event at Harding. Tribune Chronicle photos / Bonnie L. Hazen
"Sixteen plus eight is 24, eight times two is 16, seven plus one is eight, and 16 plus eight is 24," recited Hannah Decker, 9, a fourth-grader from Newton Falls, as she solved a puzzle during a demonstration prior to the start of the tournament.
It was Decker's first time competing in the event, and when asked if she thought she would win, she smiled and shrugged.
This year's tournament was sponsored by the Time Warner Cable, Trumbull County Educational Service Center and the Tribune Chronicle.
When solving problems, some students fidgeted in their seats while others tilted their heads to the side and pondered the equations. Alexandra Lagaras, 10, a fourth-grader from Champion Central Elementary School, said she liked to sort the cards she solved at the end of each round.
"I think I got 20 (points)," she informed the judge at her table as points were counted at the end of round 2.
A math coach from Lincoln K-8 in Warren was amazed at the large number of participants compared with the events in the past.
"When it first started, it was maybe 10 tables," said Lorraine Trina, 53. "What a difference from when we (first) did it." Trina said another thing that has grown is the students' excitement in math.
"It's been a blast bringing literacy and education to our schools," Shafer said.