Algebra Carnivals provide fun preparations for STAAR EOC exam

May 29, 2019

Cypress Creek High School students participate in the “bean bag toss,” one of the booths available at the school’s fourth annual Algebra Carnival on May 2. The algebra department conducted the carnival for students following intensive studying and reviewing sessions in the previous weeks in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)
Cypress Creek High School students participate in the “bean bag toss,” one of the booths available at the school’s fourth annual Algebra Carnival on May 2. The algebra department conducted the carnival for students following intensive studying and reviewing sessions in the previous weeks in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)

May 29, 2019—CFISD algebra teachers at Cypress Creek and Cypress Woods high schools, with help and support from numerous colleagues and campus departments, culminated weeks of preparing, studying and reviewing for the STAAR end-of-course (EOC) Algebra I exam by hosting Algebra Carnivals for students earlier this month.

Cypress Creek held its fourth annual Algebra Carnival, while Cypress Woods hosted its carnival for a third year.

“There can be a lot of stress around the STAAR test so this is more of a fun way to do some review in a relaxed environment,” said Sarah Smith, Cypress Woods algebra team leader. “The students enjoy it and the teachers feel like it’s been super successful.”

Cypress Woods High School held its third annual Algebra Carnival on May 3, with students participating in 12 booths to not only continue their studies in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam, but also to have the opportunity to play the carnival games and earn raffle tickets.
Cypress Woods High School held its third annual Algebra Carnival on May 3, with students participating in 12 booths to not only continue their studies in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam, but also to have the opportunity to play the carnival games and earn raffle tickets.

Added Anne-Marie Hayduchok, Cypress Creek’s algebra department chair: “The students also earn it – they have to earn the right to go. They’ve been working so hard and this is a celebration of all that they’ve accomplished so far.”

The Cypress Woods algebra team got the carnival idea from Cypress Creek, which actually picked it up after Teresa Hughes, an instructional coach, attended a meeting with fellow math coaches. Someone mentioned putting on a carnival in the past, which immediately hit with Hughes.

Cypress Creek High School algebra teachers and others from different subject areas help run the booths at the school’s Algebra Carnival. The teachers led participating students through a series of questions and problems in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. Students were then able to participate in the carnival games and earn raffle tickets. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)
Cypress Creek High School algebra teachers and others from different subject areas help run the booths at the school’s Algebra Carnival. The teachers led participating students through a series of questions and problems in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. Students were then able to participate in the carnival games and earn raffle tickets. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)

“All I heard was carnival and in my mind, I started planning one for us,” she said.

She still had to sell the idea to her team members back on campus, but teachers jumped on board.

“And it’s just grown bigger and better every year,” Hughes said.

More than a dozen booths were set up at each campus for students, who have been in intensive preparation sessions in the previous weeks, to work through problems. Students earned tickets with correct answers to use for the possibility to win any of the prizes.

At Cypress Creek, students were able to win more than 100 prizes donated by school staff members, organizations and sports teams. Each correct answer also allowed the participant to play the game at the specific booth for a chance at more tickets. Students who participated in every booth had the opportunity to win one of the grand prizes, which included a laptop, yearbook and bouquets of multiple gift cards.

A number of teachers from other subjects volunteered to help work booths, while other staff and administrators stopped by throughout the day to show support, encourage students and even have their photos taken. Students in various organizations also volunteered to help the carnival be a success.

In addition, ALC-East math teachers came over to volunteer, as the campus is beginning its own carnival as well.

 Cypress Creek High School students look over the numerous raffle prizes and decided where to put their raffle tickets during the school’s fourth annual Algebra Carnival on May 2, which the algebra department put on for students following intensive studying and reviewing sessions in the previous weeks in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. Students participated in carnival games to earn raffle tickets and win prizes. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)
Cypress Creek High School students look over the numerous raffle prizes and decided where to put their raffle tickets during the school’s fourth annual Algebra Carnival on May 2, which the algebra department put on for students following intensive studying and reviewing sessions in the previous weeks in preparation for the STAAR end-of-course Algebra I exam. Students participated in carnival games to earn raffle tickets and win prizes. (Photo by Mekenna Earnhart, Cypress Creek HS)

“I can never say thank you enough,” Hughes said. “It truly is a team effort.”

At Cypress Woods, 12 different booths allowed participating students to work on topics and problems that included function notation and range and domain. Tweaks are made every year to accommodate larger booths or different subject areas. The booths were put together by students in the National Honor Society, while numerous teachers from the math department worked the carnival during their conference periods.

School volunteers and community partners donated candy and gift cards for prizes.

Cypress Woods High School students participated in 12 carnival-style booths May 3 during the school’s third annual Algebra Carnival.
Cypress Woods High School students participated in 12 carnival-style booths May 3 during the school’s third annual Algebra Carnival.

“It comes full cycle,” Smith said. “We’ve had them from the beginning and we’re watching them take what they learned in middle school and grow. To get to see them have some fun touches your heart. It’s very rewarding.”

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