“Some people cup stack slow and I stack fast,” said Raylen. “My body gets happy.”
Raylen and her classmates at Midway Primary participated in the 7th annual World Sport Stacking Association STACK UP along with McHenry Primary and thousands of students from across the world on Wednesday.
Known as a track meet for the hands, sport stacking involes students working to up stack and down stack 12 cups called Speed Stacks into various pyramids in predetermined patterns.
Midway Primary physical education teacher Jean Pruitt said the competition challenges students to utilize both sides of the brain as they employ their motor skills to quickly build structures with cups while thinking through the patterns.
“It works on focusing, concentrating on what you’re doing so that you can build the different stacks,” said Pruitt. “They love it.”
The day was organized by class level from kindergarten to third grade. For thirty minutes, the class spread into groups of five students at each stop in the gym as they waited in line to take their turn at the stack table next to another team.
The event was far from the common activity of simply putting away the dishes. Kindergartner Ethan Bentley had his game face on as he flew through the patterns and then celebrated with a flexed arm as he finished before his neighbor.
“I’m actually really fast at it and really good at it,” said Ethan. “I keep beating people. It’s just a part of the game.”
The cup stacking aids with both number skills and learning to take turns, according to Pre-K and kindergarten para-pro Laura Mull.
“They build on that starting with the small cups,” said Mull. “It just gets bigger and bigger and teaches them how many they’re suppose to stack and how many groups they’re suppose to stack. That kind of helps in a math perspective.”
Screams of triumph and excitement could be heard across the gym as music signaled another turn for the students to begin stacking with the multi-colored cups.
“It’s different from the normal routine of running around and PE,” said Mull. “It really makes their brain think a lot more.”