September 2019 Newsletter
School Contact Detail - Back to School Special - Getting Started Workshops - Tournament Dates
A Brief Glimpse of the Math Pentathlon Program
Through the Joyful Life of Its Creator,
Dr. John Carl del Regato
A “Game-Changing” educational pioneer, whose cutting-edge ideas are still far ahead of their time, left this earth on February 20, 2019.  Dr. John del Regato’s educational background was impressive. While attending the John Dewey inspired Fountain Valley High School in Colorado Springs, the seed was planted for a lifelong belief in experience-based learning. John graduated from Colorado College in 1967. From there he continued his studies at Vanderbilt University and the University of London in biostatistics. He returned from London to attend the University of Wisconsin. It was here that he decided to pursue education, rather than music, his long-time love. John’s choice would change hundreds of thousands of lives including his own. 

After chairing a high school math department, he received his Master’s Degree in mathematics and math education. He then headed West and enrolled in a Doctoral program at Oregon University where he directed a Piagetian Lab. From this experience John was greatly influenced by the importance of both developmental and conceptual learning. While completing his Doctorate, John invented a system and device to teach mathematics to the blind via sound. This ground-breaking achievement was featured in an International Edition of Newsweek magazine and Hewlett Packard offered to manufacture this device. However, the greatest impact of John’s work with the blind was not the creation of this device, but rather how it profoundly influenced his value of the importance of visualization and spatial reasoning in mathematical thinking.  

After his formal education, he taught mathematics and math education at higher educational institutions. In 1979, while at Saginaw Valley University, in Michigan, John created the 20 Math Pentathlon Games for students in K-7 to honor the International Year of the Child. He based these games on strategic thinking and his concept of Active Problem Solving. He defined this concept as a critical futuristic skill and ability to resolve problems that are continually undergoing change. John envisioned these games as the vehicle to put into practice Active Problem Solving as well as his theoretical beliefs in conceptual, developmental, and experience-based learning. 

John’s fundamental belief was that ALL students could learn to like, or even love math, if they were engaged in exciting, interactive, strategy games. In contrast to traditional math instruction, that to this day still emphasizes rote instruction and arithmetic, these games stress spatial, logical, and computational reasoning. John used the format of games to make math fun and interesting. He believed that this would motivate children to practice math skills and problem solving more frequently, and thus, help them become more successful at it. In turn, this would develop students’ confidence and self-esteem in math and many other life endeavors. And, to practice these strategies and skills on a consistent basis, he invented the related Math Pentathlon Academic Tournaments. The Games in combination with the year-end Tournaments were a big hit. 

In 1983, John was invited to join the faculty of Butler University, with some initial funding by Eli Lilly Foundation, to bring his teachings and the innovative Math Pentathlon Program to Indianapolis. The Math Pentathlon Program became even more popular. Two years later, the Program was demanding so much of his time, that he had to make another difficult decision. John had to choose between a career as a university professor, which was safe and known OR follow his heart and form an institution dedicated to experience-based learning. John believed that his greatest impact could be made by putting all of his energies into the Math Pentathlon Program and experience-based learning. In 1985, along with his Co-Partner Mary Gilfeather, John founded the Not-For-Profit Pentathlon Institute dedicated to conceptual and experience-based learning.  This freed both of them to focus on the Math Pentathlon Games and National Academic Tournaments that brought students, parents, teachers and the entire educational community together to celebrate students, referred to as Pentathletes, who diligently strived to become better Active Problem Solvers. 

Forming such an avant-garde and independent organization involved many years of hardship, struggling against an educational establishment that did not want to change the long-held belief in rote math instruction. But Math Pentathlon’s popularity could not be denied. Parents, teachers, and students became passionate proponents of the Program who spread the word of how powerful the games and Active Problem Solving were in transforming learners’ problem-solving skills and attitudes. Beyond math, adults were especially impressed with how the Math Pentathlon Program and National Academic Tournaments developed character, good sportsmanship, teamwork, respect for others and how to stand up for oneself. Word traveled to Austin, Texas where Rene LeBlanc joined the team, becoming the third key leader. John, with a big smile and twinkle in his eyes, referred to the Team of 3 as “The 3 Musketeers who performed many daring deeds against all odds.”

Today, the Pentathlon Institute continues John’s legacy and his dearly-held belief that each one of us can make a significant and lasting impact in this world based on thoughtful choices that we make every day. Indeed, John chose the road less traveled and that has made all of the difference in countless lives of children, teachers, parents, administrators and all of us who joined him on this challenging and adventurous road trip.

While we still grieve his loss and miss his joyous spirit, we take solace in the fact that John achieved what so many of us hope to accomplish in our lifetime: changing the minds and hearts of those we touch to make this world and the future a better place. And, if we think logically, as well as from the heart, we can choose our paths wisely so that we too can discover the best road to travel.
Essential for Tournament:
Submit School Contact Designee "SCD" Form
To better serve your school we ask that your SCD complete the Online Form to be designated as the Official Math Pentathlon Contact Person who will be the primary representative for your school. The Contact Person will receive all communication from the Pentathlon Institute to share with others.

Sept 19 - Oct 10
Each Fall the Pentathlon Institute offers a Back to School Special that allows individuals to purchase Family Game Sets at a reduced cost. Both the Regular and Premier Family Game Sets are on sale for 10% off at: Family Sets

Workshops & Training
Attend an Official Math Pentathlon Training for teachers, coaches & parents to learn the Math Pentathlon Games & Program.

If your district is HOSTING a National Mathematics Pentathlon Academic Tournament make sure to ask your School Contact Designee for the Hosting Promo Code to receive a discount on your workshop registration.

To Book a Workshop call 317-356-6284.

Getting Started:
Sample Club Communications
Each Math Pentathlon School/Club is unique in how it reaches out to support their community of learners. This section of our website provides"sample" documents that coaches have used to inform parents and students about the Math Pentathlon Program. We hope that by sharing these samples you can customize rather than reinvent how to get your Math Pentathlon Program started. These communications include the following:
  • 4 different styles of letters to inform and explain to your parents about the MP Program and how the club will be organized at your school including club registration forms;
  • Handouts for teachers/parents;
  • 2 different types of Student Behavior Contracts and a Behavior Improvement Contract;
  • Examples of Online Math Pentathlon Club Sign-up
Feel free to use these sample documents and make any changes to meet your club's needs. Link to  Getting Started Club Communications
2020 NMPAT Dates
(National Mathematics Pentathlon Academic Tournaments)

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to the 2019-2020
School Districts that are HOSTING a NMPAT!

Division I (K-1) is May 2 - Perry Township
Division II (2-3) is May 9 - Avon CSC
Division III (4-5) is April 18 - Wayne Township
Division IV (6-7) is April 18 - Wayne Township

Division I (K-1) is April 25 - Walled Lake CS
Division II (2-3) is March 21 - Bloomfield Hills
Division III (4-5) is May 16 - Rochester CS
Division IV (6-7) is May 16 - Rochester CS

Division I (K-1) is March 28 - Pflugerville ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, Round Rock ISD
Division II (2-3) is April 25 , Austin ISD, Leander ISD
Division III (4-5) is May 2 , Ausitn ISD, Round Rock ISD
Division IV (6-7) is May 9 - TBA

Division I (K-1) is April 4 - Midlothian ISD
Division II (2-3) is March 21 - Mansfield ISD
Division III (4-5) is April 18 - Glen Rose ISD
Division IV (6-7) is May 9 - TBA (at Austin Metro Center)

2019 NMPAT Special Recognition

7 & 8 Year Awardees will be honored in the November Newsletter.

Pentathlon Institute | Mathematics Pentathlon