When first graders walk in to Ms. Diane Sandifer’s class, they better be ready to learn some math.

Sandifer said her “fearless first graders” at Memorial Primary School in Bluefield completed over 100,000 math problems since the first day of school in August.

“It’s a game and they want to do it,” Sandifer said. “They love to be challenging and competitive with their friends.”

Competing for knowledge is what Ms. Sandifer stresses in her classroom, as children learn how to solve equations. A grant from local businesses gives teachers and students access to a program called ISX, which allows kids to have in-classroom competitions.

These problem are teaching students lessons in things like place value, time, addition facts, and soon they will be learning how to count money.

As the curriculum becomes more difficult and their new goal climbs to 500,000 problems, Ms. Sandifer said she continues to motivate her students to be winners.

“I just set it in their mind that we’re going to be the best and no on better pass us up, and I don’t like to lose,” Sandifer said. “So I just set that mentality that we’re going to be winners.”