|math games are exciting|
One of my dreams when I started the Somerville Mathematics Fund eleven years ago was to see children excited about math and doing math activities together and with their parents. The Somerville Math Fund is an affiliate of Dollars for Scholars and so clearly we are a scholarship organization. However, long before high school, children need to be getting ready for those scholarships and so it is important for kids to learn to think mathematically.
In each of the descriptions below, I have linked the newspaper coverage to the school's name -- go read all about the fun that was had and what students were learning. As other articles are published, I will update this with links.
For all of these events, the Bickoff family has generously donated pizza. This had made it possible for families to come to school for a wonderful event with their children even though they tend to conflict with dinner time.
At the end of evening of the K-6th math nights, families go home with activities and materials they use together at home. The math fund grants pay for these materials along with the "math prizes" at some and the games students play at the events.
strategies take thought ...
do you think you control those dice?
The next math night was the K-2nd Argenziano School math night. This is Agenziano's first year winning a Somerville Mathematics Fund grant for math nights and the teachers ran it as if they had been doing this for years. They had a wonderfully exciting math night.
|rolling the dice for a game on the hundreds board|
While a pizza dinner was served on one side of the room, the other side had active math activities led by sixth graders and math games led by teachers. Once people had eaten, the rest of the cafeteria was setup for games and activities by grade level. There were many excited intensely involved students along with their parents.
Later in that same week, middle school students from Healey, Brown, East Somerville Community School at Cummings and West Somerville Neighborhood School celebrated Pi Night at the Healey School. I coplanned this π event with Wil Jacques, Jack O'Keefe, Theresa MacVicar, Annette Fiori Bassett and Scott Walker. Not only did we have pizza but Table Talk Pies donated large pies for prizes and small pies for everyone. We had community volunteers and wonderful high school students help with each activity.
collecting data: which is the better target? a
circle in a square or a square in a circle ... later in math
class calculations are made to compare experimental
with theoretical probability
Some activities collected data, some were estimation, other made things. Always popular is to make are the π Buttons. Students also made line drawings that produced various curves, circles, nephroids and cardioids. Students always love the estimating activities. These included estimating the sizes of circular things around the room, the number of round objects in a jar, estimating by feel and even estimating how far one and a half revolutions of a bike tire will end up. The data collecting includes comparing targets and collecting tooth pick drops to calculate π (Buffon's Needle problem). Some students even shared their rap about π.
signing his name on the line predicting where the
bike wheel will end up
feeling a circular object and estimating the
circumference in cm
drawing a circle by drawing lines
(actually tangents to the "circle" which appears)
April has brought four more events. The first at Winter Hill, then Argenziano and finally two at East Somerville Community School at Edgerly on consecutive days.
|Playing a fraction calculation game|
|Making sets of proportional fraction cards to use at home|
I watched a wonderful moment where a mother and daughter were playing Mankalla and teaching a teacher a variation on the game that they play at home (they block off part of the holes and this makes the game a different strategy challenge).
a game using money
Yesterday, I went to the East Somerville Community School (ESCS) at Edgerly's math event for 2nd-4th. This year they expanded it to include 2nd grade. The format is a bit different at ESCS in that they start with the math activity right after school and end with the pizza. Again, they had games and activities in various rooms, with individual halls devoted to each grade.
|learning a new strategy game|
Every year, the ESCS math night includes a time for parents to learn something about how math is taught and what they can do to help their children at home,
two cars racing down the ramp ...
One of the activities had 2 students release 2 cars down a ramp at the same time. Then they had to estimate the distance the car traveled before they could measure it.
The math night at ESCS yesterday was followed by 3rd grade Test Success Day today. Since the students have never taken MCAS exams prior to 3rd grade, they came to school today to take a practice test (last year's math exam) with either a parent or with a 7th or 8th grader.
They started with breakfast, ran around in the gym and then tried the sample test while talking through the problems as they did them. After the test, they learned the new games their parents learned while they were in the gym and then ended with a pizza lunch, and left with gift bags of math supplies.
The session for the parents included information on testing and gave them some math activities they can do at home to help their students.
This is not the end of the math nights for this year. Stay tuned to learn about Winter Hill's K-2nd math night and Healey's K-2nd in May and June. If you have never had the fun of volunteering at a math night, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get details about the Healey School Math Night.
©2012, Erica Dakin Voolich
The link for this page is: http://somervillemathematics.blogspot.com/2012/04/math-nights-and-afternoons-here-there.html