TAMILNADU, INDIA—Narain Loganathan, based out of the Shree Sarasswathi Vidhyaah Mandheer (SSVM) World School in the Coimbatore District, was last week’s top-ranked First In Math player in the world, all standards. He overtook the previous internationally-ranked top player—from Academy of St. Paul school in New Jersey’s Archdiocese of Newark (U.S.)—in late December, 2015.
All SSVM students, standards 1-9, participate in the First In Math programme, and teachers use Player of the Day giveaway cards, handed out daily at morning assembly, to motivate students.
Loganathan got a late start on the programme last year but still rose to first in his school. “I saw that the people at the top of the Rankings already had about 30,000 stickers, and I thought that I would never accrue that many, so I decided to stop.”
In 2015, Loganathan started to play as soon as he got his FIM User ID. “This year, I tried to rectify my flaws and that has made me the #1 player. I spend about 30-60 minutes on First In Math most days. It definitely paid off.” The energetic 13-year-old says that playing First In Math taught him more about maths, and also “many great principles to adopt in our life. Not only did it improve my fundamentals in algebra, it also helped me tremendously in developing persistence. With persistence, you can become one of the top players in your state. And apart from that the program is quite fun to do!”
Aside from Loganathan’s individual success, the school has solved more than 56 lakh maths problems. All students in standards 1-9 participate. Dr. Manimekkalai, SSVM founder and trustee, began asking her teachers to use Player of the Day ‘giveaway cards’ which the children collect. They are handed out each day at the morning assembly, and earning them has become quite a motivator—perhaps the reason the school has attained top-ten status.
Since it first flickered across U.S. computer monitors in 2002, First In Math’s child-centric approach to education has distinguished it from other maths programmes. Within a framework, children choose activities they can relate to, so that they can more easily master the skills they need. “We do not force every student down the same path, but allow each child to discover his or her ideal entry point to active learning,” says Sun.
Sun believes that students who want to ‘level-up’ are incredibly motivated by ranking status—whether it be their own individual standing or that of their team or school. “First In Math Rankings can be a great tool in focusing these students. In addition, a Rankings structure can help teachers provide students with a common goal, which often boosts achievement.”
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