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Two National Poster Competition Winners Hail from Same School

1 August 2017 88 views No Comment
Rebecca Nichols, American Statistical Association, and Jennifer Blattner, Odyssey Elementary School

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Blattner, Odyssey Elementary School
Pat Hopfensperger, a director of the Wisconsin Mathematical Education Foundation and former ASA/NCTM Joint Committee chair, visited Odyssey Elementary School in Appleton, Wisconsin, to congratulate the school’s two national winners, Rachel Zhu and Maya Lemery.

This year, there were two national poster competition winners from Odyssey Elementary School. Rachel Zhu won first place in the grades 4–6 category for her poster, “Sleepy Stats,” and Maya Lemery won second place in the grades K–3 category for her poster, “Do Favorite Colors Change as Kids Get Older?”

The ASA/NCTM Joint Committee oversees the ASA National Statistics Poster Competition. Pat Hopfensperger, a director of the Wisconsin Mathematical Education Foundation and former ASA/NCTM Joint Committee chair, visited Jennifer Blattner’s class at Odyssey Elementary School in Appleton, Wisconsin, to congratulate the two national winners.

Here, Zhu and Lemery answer a few questions about their experiences participating in the poster competition.

Rachel Zhu

Poster Title: Sleepy Stats
First Place, Grades 4–6 National Poster Competition

How did you come up with this particular question of interest for your poster?

I picked the topic, “How long do students sleep at night (at my school)?” because, really, I just wanted to see if I was getting enough sleep.

How did you collect/find the data?

I went around the sixth- and third-grade populations, since I thought these two grades were far enough apart to make a difference in hours of sleep. I chose the two classes in my school and asked each student, “On average, how long do you sleep at night?” I wrote down their responses in a notebook.

What did you enjoy the most while working on the poster project?

My favorite part would be putting together the poster, since I actually made a nighttime background with some glitter glue. I also liked working on the graphs because it gave me a better view of the data, and they also helped me learn a lot about my topic.

What did you find most surprising about the results?

I was really surprised to see that third and sixth graders only have (on average) a one-hour difference; I expected a lot more. And, like I said on my poster, “I was completely discombobulated that anyone, even a sixth grader, would get five hours of sleep.”

What did you do when you found out you won first place in the national contest?

It was a little weird (and kind of creepy) when I found out I won, because I was thinking about the poster contest the day before. The people in my class probably caught a glimpse of my poster because they kept hinting that somebody (me) won. I got slightly agitated because my teacher wouldn’t reveal who [won] before all the students had arrived. It was really confusing. But when we did find out, I was really surprised and excited. At first, I was kind of speechless, but then the shock passed and I was really happy and proud. I don’t remember as much what I felt after I found out, except an overwhelming feeling of excitement. Maybe I was just too excited!

Did participating in this contest influence your dreams or goals?

I suppose participating in the contest did boost my motivation about statistics. I mean, I like math a lot, but not particularly statistics before the contest. I think my goals are still to learn as much as I can about math, but also a little more about statistics, too.

What are your plans for the future?

I have a lot of interests, with statistics adding on to the list, but I’m still not quite sure what my plans are for the future.

Maya Lemery

Poster Title: Do Favorite Colors Change as Kids Get Older?
Second Place, Grades K–3 National Poster Competition

How did you come up with this particular question of interest for your poster?

I started with favorite color, but I decided that was too boring and I realized I could make it much more interesting without many more changes [if I asked], “Do favorite colors change as kids get older?”

How did you collect/find the data?

I made a Google form for the third and fourth graders and I walked down to the kindergarten classroom in my school and interviewed the kindergartners one by one.

What did you enjoy the most while working on the poster project?

I would say that putting together my poster was my favorite part.

What did you find most surprising about the results?

That I won second place in the contest when I doubted I would even win an honorable mention, even though I really hoped I would.

What did you do when you found out you won second place in the national contest?

I walked into my classroom and [practiced] cursive [while] feeling amazed.

Did participating in this contest influence your dreams or goals?

I still want to be an engineer when I grow up, but it was amazing that I won and now I know I am good at math.

What are your plans for the future?

Like I said before, I want to be an engineer, because I like building things.

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