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Wheelerville introducing new math incentive

Program will give participants a ‘hands on’ experience to learning math

CAROGA LAKE — Math can get very physical.

Wheelerville Union Free School is breaking out a new supplemental resource to enhance math education while increasing students’ physical activity.

Parents of pupils in the pre-K through eighth-grade school are invited to a family fun day from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday to experience a hands-on program called Math and Movement.

Families will discover how movement activities can help students learn math–and how parents can be involved with their children’s math development.

“We thought that this program was not just for teachers,” said Nicole Dettenrider, the elementary school principal.

The school already has been incorporating physical activities, using programs such as GoNoodle, in math, English language arts and physical education, but is adding Math and Movement programming, she said.

The developer of the program, which has been made available to Wheelerville through funding from an insurance company not in the area, claims to have hard data that shows children learn math more easily with activity. In a news release, Math and Movement said a pilot study of its programs increased children’s ability in skip counting by more than 550 percent. Skip counting means counting forward or backward by numbers other than one, such as counting by twos or threes. It also cites a first-grade teacher who said the program accelerated her students’ skills in all aspects of math.

Math and Movement’s website mentions among its activities a series of floor mats such its Hop Scotch for Threes and Dollar Hop. The program also has a positive exercise effect by “getting the kids up and moving,” Dettenrider said.

Word problems will continue to be built into math education in every grade–from the simple addition or subtraction of objects in lower grades to comparing automobile miles per gallon in higher grades, she said.

The school sees Math and Movement to be another way it can help students see math as a user-friendly subject.

“Math tends to be the subject kids have trouble with,” said Dettenrider, who was recently a first-grade teacher.

“Math doesn’t have to be a scary subject.”

Dettenrider said the fun day is just another way to increase collaboration between teachers and parents to benefit students.

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