Nassau, Bahamas—To the uninitiated ear, the answers sound like gibberish—faster than an auctioneer. But Sophia DiPiazza, 13, of Allendale, Michigan, not only knows exactly what she’s saying, she’s also performing dozens of math equations in her head to get those answers. All in 60 seconds.
Sophia can perform these mental math gymnastics so fast, in fact, that she won the National Number Knockout championship Tuesday afternoon, along with a $10,000 grand prize. Her mother, Rebekka, won $2,000 as her teacher.
Sophia was one of 16 finalists in the National Number Knockout (N2K) competition held Tuesday during a five-day cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Carnival cruise ship Victory. The competition began with 16 10-14-year-old students from all over the country. When three lightning-fast rounds were over, Sophia was the sole competitor left standing.
National Number Knockout is a mental math game played with three dice and a playing grid of 36 squares, each containing a number. Students are given 60 seconds to generate as many equations as possible with unique answers from the numbers on the dice using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, roots, and exponents, in such a way that the result is a number on the board.
The 16 finalists had to survive a rigorous series of local and regional competitions to reach the finals. Each of the finalists received two free tickets to the cruise and $800 in traveling money.
The N2K competition is hosted by Classical Conversations®, a classical education resource used by homeschoolers in all 50 states and 14 foreign countries. Classical Conversations now has more than 93,000 students enrolled in its tutoring programs. Sophia attends the Challenge B program (equivalent to 8th grade) at the Allendale Classical Conversations community where her mom is the Challenge B director.
CC provides resources, guidance and a community for a home school curriculum using classical education in three developmental stages: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric, and taught from a Christian worldview, according to its founder, Leigh Bortins. She says CC supports homeschooling parents by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families. She believes there are three keys to a great education: classical, Christian and community.
Started in 1997 and headquartered in West End, North Carolina, CC is a family-owned company that provides services to almost 1,900 CC communities around the world. For more information visit www.classicalconversations.com.