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Stop, Drop and Roll...Those Dice

Elementary students tackle new math game in spirited competition.

ThinkFun and Barnes & Noble teamed up recently to put on the first Northern Virginia Regional Math Dice Championships, held at the Barnes & Noble at Potomac Yards. Math Dice, one of this year's new products from ThinkFun, a leading manufacturer of Mind-Challenging Games, was the center of attention at the inaugural event.

Five elementary schools from Arlington and Alexandria squared off in what may became the first of many more Math Dice competitions. The Arlington Elementary schools included Arlington Science Focus, Long Branch and Oakridge, while the two elementary schools from Alexandria were Cora Kelly and John Adams.

Math Dice tests its player's mathematical skills in a fast-paced, friendly, yet competitive manner. Players roll the dice, five in all, to generate a Target Number and three Scoring Numbers. Players then arrange the Scoring Numbers into combinations of mathematical operations to create an equation whose result is closest to, or equal to the Target Number.

Adorned in home-made uniforms and smiling cheeks coated with face paint, both students and parents alike came prepared, and ready to roll. While the premise for the competition was based on the schools as a team, an individual tournament took place simultaneously, yielding two finalists for the finishing showdown. Chris Nelson of Longbranch took on Andreea Mihut of Oakridge in a best of seven series, for the title of the Northern Virginia Math Dice Champion. Chris Nelson went on to win the final match over Andreea Mihut, claiming victory.

IT CAME DOWN to the final round to determine the team champion. The teams were given one minute to answer each question that was posed to them, and after the allotment of time and rounds, the winner would be the team with the most points. The schools turned out to be evenly matched, and it was anybody's game before the final question was asked.

However, like any championship, there needs to be a champion, and by a margin of only 10 points, Arlington Science Focus Elementary edged out Long Branch Elementary to walk away with the title. Oakridge Elementary was close behind in third place, while Cora Kelly and John Adams Elementary rounded out the top five, respectively.