Monday, October 31, 2011

Incredible Math Night

Last Thursday evening I attended the Math Night at Flynn Elementary School in Burlington and what an incredible experience it was. Over 300 parents and children took part in the event in which they experienced a variety of neat math activities put together from the Bridges Math Program as well as some culturally diverse math activities from different countries represented at the school.

The evening was planned by Karyn Vogel, the school math specialist, and a recent graduate from the SMC Graduate Education Program, and Rebekah Thomas, the school ELL teacher . There were over 25 tables set out with math activities including the Hungry Caterpillar, the Sierpinski triangle, and Tangrams to name a few. Each table was staffed by one of the Flynn school teachers, a student from Burlington High School or a Flynn school parent such as Kyendamina Cleophace Mukeba who shared a popular game from the Congo called Kisoro.

Judging by the enthusiasm with which the parents took part, the happy buzz that emanated from the cafeteria where the event took place, and the excitement in the children's voices as they taught their parents how to participate in the activities the event was a major success.

We now know, from definitive research, that adults' attitudes toward math have a direct effect on the way students learn math whether they be teachers, parents, or older siblings. Anything we can do to demystify math, to make it more user friendly, and to help people see the aesthetic side of math, the more effective our teaching will be and the more complete will our students' learning be. The Flynn school Math Night was a huge step in the right direction,.


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