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National Flagway Game competition coming to Mansfield in 2020

The Mansfield Middle School Flagway Game team, coach Kelly Scott Parker and their Senior High mentors gathered for a photo during the National Math Festival last Saturday in Washington, D.C.

      A six-member team from Mansfield Middle School placed fourth in last weekend’s national Flagway Game math tournament in Washington, D.C., competing in a 10-team field that included schools from Boston, Chicago and Cambridge, Mass.

      “I’m very proud of our team. They worked hard to prepare for the competition and they did a great job of representing Mansfield Middle School,” said Kelly Scott Parker, a Senior High math teacher who serves as team coach.

      The Flagway Game competition was part of the National Math Festival in the nation’s capital. 

      Parker and Christina Drain, manager of the middle school’s after-school programs, said next year’s national Flagway Game tournament will be held on the campus of Ohio State University-Mansfield. Specific dates have not been set but the competition featuring schools from around the nation is expected to be in May.

      Ohio State University-Mansfield hosted a Flagway Game conference Oct. 26-27 and has been at the center of promoting the game as an innovative method to teach mathematics.

      The Flagway Game is a patented math exercise developed by Bob Moses, creator of The Algebra Project and managed by the Young People’s Project. Maisha Moses, founder of the Young People’s Project, presented the October training in Mansfield.

      Flagway is played on a two-dimensional tree graph spread on a large floor area and requires students to race around the course to pick up cards (flags) containing problems that require team collaboration to solve prime factor factorization and algebraic forms.

      Ellie Snyder, a member of the Mansfield Middle School team, said nervousness in Washington was quickly erased by the speed of the game.

      “The competition was nerve-racking at first but I got into sort of a weird state. I just reacted to our training. I didn’t even think about the surroundings,” she said.

      Other team members included Josh Brooks, Christian Greene, Olyvia Marshall, Kayvon Smith and Tayvonn Vickers.

      Malachi Mays is one of six Senior High mentors who worked with the team and accompanied them to Washington.

      “They tried their best and did a good job,” he said of the middle school students. “Our job as mentors was to cheer them on.”

      Parker said the Mansfield delegation was “the loudest group there.”

      Other mentors are Alisha Franklin, Aveon Grose, Zephaniah Jackson, Jamel Shaw and Erynn Vaughn.

      After Saturday’s competition the Mansfield students visited the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. On Sunday they toured the National Museum of African-American History and Culture before starting home.

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