Math Madness makes math fun

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At Casey Elementary School on Camp Casey Jan. 14, students and parents take part in the school's second annual "Math Madness" workshop, which aimed to build math proficiency by using games and other activities to make the subject enjoyable for youngsters. In one of those activities, competing groups had to use 20 strands of uncooked spaghetti and about a yard of masking tape to create the tallest possible structure that would support a marshmallow for at least 30 seconds without collapsing.
At Casey Elementary School on Camp Casey Jan. 14, students and parents take part in the school's second annual "Math Madness" workshop, which aimed to build math proficiency by using games and other activities to make the subject enjoyable for youngsters. In one of those activities, competing groups had to use 20 strands of uncooked spaghetti and about a yard of masking tape to create the tallest possible structure that would support a marshmallow for at least 30 seconds without collapsing.

Math Madness makes math fun

by: Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman | .
Camp Casey | .
published: February 01, 2014

CAMP CASEY -- Eager youngsters and their parents turned out by the dozens for the second annual "Math Madness" workshop at Casey Elementary School Jan. 14, an event that aimed to foster student enthusiasm for mathematics.

"Math Madness" is a friendly competition of math-related games that Casey Elementary teachers developed last year to make math fun for youngsters from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.

This year's event drew 69 students and about 40 parents.

"We initially started the program to educate families, parents and the community about the school's goals for our "Continuous School Improvement" process," said Tanya Pascua, special education teacher and an organizer of the event. "The math skills have improved for the majority of the students since last March," she said.

The 90-minute workshop kicked off with a two-person game called the "Sage-N-Scribe" in which one student in the "Sage" role gives the other, in a Scribe role, step-by-step instruction on how to perform a task or solve a problem. Both work to solve it, after which they switch roles.

Older students played a traditional "War" card game with a slight twist. Both flip a card at the same time, then multiply the sum of the two cards by two. The one who calls out the correct multiplication product first, wins both cards. That process is repeated until they've worked through a full deck of cards. The one who accumulated the most cards wins the 30-minute game.

The game spurred friendly competition among the students while sharpening their multiplication skills.

Another game was referred to as the "STEM" activity because it combined aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Participants divided into groups, each of which was given 20 uncooked strands of spaghetti, a yard of masking tape, and a marshmallow. They had to assemble the tallest possible structure that would support the marshmallow at the top for at least 30 seconds before collapsing.

"The STEM project was my favorite because it was fun competing against the other teams," said eighth-grader Nathan Kasper. "It [Math Madness] teaches good math skills you can use for school and in everyday life."

Sgt. Rafael Diaz-Maldonado and his wife see math as of high importance, so they attended along with their two children.

"My wife and I came to Math Madness because math is involved in all areas of life," said Diaz-Maldonado of the 17th Ordnance Company. "My leadership thought [Math Madness] was important enough to release me from work so I came."

The workshop was a success and beneficial to those who attended, parents and teachers included, said Casey Elementary principle Wanda Bradley.

"I think the event went really well," said Bradley. "I received great feedback from the parents and it also gave our teachers an opportunity to work with children outside the classroom."

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