Students at Shivela Middle School recently came out on top of an online national math contest.
A team of 41 Shivela sixth-grade pre-algebra students, along with other Murrieta schools and classes, competed in the two-day American Math Challenge Oct. 16-17.
Students had to try out for a spot on the Shivela team, according to teacher Jack Mitchell, who teaches seventh-grade math at the school as well as three sixth-grade advanced math classes.
Mitchell's students participated in the contest for several years when he taught at Rail Ranch Elementary, also in Murrieta. When he transferred to Shivela this year, he said several of his repeat students expressed a desire to take on the contest as middle school students.
The first day of competition entailed logging into the contest site to answer 1,500 grade-level math questions. Some of the students worked until 9 p.m. in the school's computer lab in order to finish, Mitchell told Patch.
The second day, students participated in math games while trying to answer them as quickly as possibly.
The team from Shivela Middle placed first overall in the primary division (K-6 schools) across the nation, according to preliminary results. Individual classrooms also competed; Shivela finished second and third in that category.
Additionally, 14 Shivela students finished in the top 100 among individual rankings, Mitchell said.
Of other district campuses that competed in the contest, Antelope Hills Elementary finished in third among schools and eighth among classes, while Rail Ranch Elementary classrooms finished fourth and tenth places.
"MVUSD dominated the competition as MVUSD took five of the six available trophies," Mitchell said.
The prize for winning is that the Human Calculator , Scott Flansburg, will visit Shivela Middle sometime in the next few weeks for an assembly, Mitchell said.
Shivela will also be receiving three trophies for the school and class placements, he said.
Mitchell said there are also plans are in the works to compete again in another online contest offered through the company, the World Education Games, which will be held in March 2013.