Champaign hosts virtual math tournament

Published May 7, 2014
An Urbana Middle School teacher helps students get started with the DimensionU tools.

An Urbana Middle School teacher helps students get started with the DimensionU tools.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) was one of four national sites hosting the Department of Defense (DoD) Virtual Math Games using DimensionU tools on April 7.  DimensionU creates engaging and interactive multiplayer video games that focus on core skills in mathematics and literacy.

“CERL had provided a three-year license and teacher training to the Urbana and Champaign School Districts in 2011,” said John Mudrick, who coordinates the lab’s educational outreach efforts.  “The license enables up to 900 middle school students to use the computer software tool in the classroom for each school district. Training was conducted by the National Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (nCASE). Mathematics teachers attended the initial three-day training and the two-day refresher training in 2012. The National Defense Education Program funded the initial licenses and training.  This was a more than $40 thousand savings for each school district over the past three years.”

CERL was the host site for the three teams from Urbana Middle School’s sixth through eighth grades.  Teams competed in five rounds.

In addition to the games in Champaign, other host sites were in South Carolina, Maryland, and New York. CERL’s participation is part of ongoing outreach to local schools to encourage early student interest in science, math, and engineering.  Urbana Middle School encourages its students in these fields of study through state-of-the-art learning tools and strategies that take advantage of opportunities such as the DoD Virtual Math Games.

The Urbana Middle School Teams performed very well.  The sixth and seventh grade teams earned second place overall in the tournament while the eighth grade team placed third.

WCIA-TV (local CBS affiliate) covered the event and the story ran on the evening news.