A team of Carmel Academy’s sixth-graders captured first place in a national STEM competition for gifted math and science students. The Greenwich day school’s E2K team took first place after delivering correct answers to every question posed.
E2K, an acronym for Excellence 2000, is an enrichment program developed in Israel that encourages advanced students to use logic, analysis, creativity and teamwork to approach math and science. The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE), which runs the E2K and other STEM-based programs in the United States, organizes national and international virtual contests throughout the year. Teams compete in real-time, using the Internet.
Led by Carmel Academy’s E2K coach and middle school science teacher Rhonda Ginsberg, the 14-member team studied high school chemistry concepts to prepare for the contest. During the two-hour competition, the students performed three experiments, observed results and answered questions based on the experiments. The sixth graders performed so well that the contest organizers asked them to further explain four of their answers to the competitor schools, Ginsberg said.
“I am so proud of our E2K students,” said Ginsberg. “They voluntarily spent much of their free time preparing for the competition, and they did so because they were excited to learn. Their enthusiasm is truly contagious.”
“The CIJE E2K virtual activities foster a healthy sense of competition in an exciting and unique way,” said Linda Goldberg, CIJE Math and Science Coordinator. “We congratulate Carmel for their first place finish and all participants as they gained both knowledge and a sense of sportsmanship from this exciting and educational venue.”
Carmel was one of the first Jewish day schools in the country to implement E2K eight years ago, when it was invited by CIJE to pilot the program. In light of its success, the school was tapped by CIJE to implement an SET3 Science, Engineering, Teamwork, Technology and Training enrichment program, as well as an eighth grade engineering program.
“It is our intention to continue to be in the forefront of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education,” said Carmel Academy Head of School Nora Anderson. “At Carmel, we prepare our students to be leaders in our fast-paced, 21st century global economy.”