Colonial students learn math in many different ways (from March print newspaper)


Tisya Sharma, Paige Felgner

Mrs. Meryeme Gashi with the first grade Mathsperts.

COLONIAL CLASSROOMS — Mathematics is one subject that can be fun for some and dreadful for others.

But learning math is not limited to the classrooms at Colonial School. Students are learning math in many different ways this year. There are programs specifically designed to strengthen computational fluency, math operations, problem solving and algebra.

In classrooms, students have been provided with FlashMasters and iPads. FlashMaster is a great device to strengthen computational fluency. You usually get 90 seconds to do as many addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems as you can. Once you get 30 correct answers, you can move up to the next level. Students also use iPad applications such as Math Duel and other online math websites to practice.

As part of the lunchtime enrichment program, grade four and five students have separate boys and girls math clubs. Mrs. Suzann Michailoff, a Colonial parent, runs both clubs. This year’s theme for boys is baseball math, in which they learn to determine an earned run average, runs batted in and on-base percentage by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. The theme for the girls math club this year is travel math. Girls learn everything about traveling, including exchange rates, calculating travel times, accounting for changes in time zones and planning a travel budget.

Perennial Math is another fun math program that challenges the students. This program is meant for students in grades three through five and is coordinated by Mrs. Beth Finkelstein, the district math coordinator. Over 200 students signed up to participate in the program this year. Participating students are given a 30-minute test every month where they independently work through six challenging math problems. Students come up with different strategies to solve the problems.

The 24 Club is another entertaining way to learn math skills. It occurs every Friday at 7:50 am in the library and is for grades four and five. Mr. Ronald Martucci is in charge of this club.

The 24 Game is a kind of card game. It comes in three different difficulty levels, starting from the easiest one-dotter card to the toughest three-dotter level. You get four numbers on the card, and your goal is to eventually achieve the number 24 using the four math operations. The catch is that you can only use each number once. At the end of the year, the top six players go to the district tournament. Last year, Aidan Resnick (5V) won the district tournament for Colonial. Aidan is part of 24 Club this year as well and is hoping to win the tournament again.

Mr. Martucci said 24 is great for kids because they are learning their math facts and they don’t even notice that they are learning anything because they’re having so much fun playing a game.

Mathsperts and Math Moments are some other programs offered to the students who demonstrate an exceptional understanding of the number system and who can visualize concepts and their relationships. A teacher’s recommendation is required to qualify for enrollment.

“The math programs sound good and engaging,” said Mrs. Tonya Wilson, the principal. “They allow students to take mathematical challenges. It also stretches their thinking. 24 is hard, but it’s good because it teaches students basic facts and how to be good with numbers.”

This story appeared in the March print edition of the Colonial Times.