ESU students challenge Emporia Middle School with math games

March 7, 2012

ESU math major Libby Mullin demonstrates how a rubber-band car works to measure distance and drag at Emporia Middle School Family Math Night.

It was wall-to-wall math games as Emporia State University students, most of them mathematics education majors, challenged Emporia Middle School students to display their problem-solving skills on Tuesday, March 6.

Called “Around the World in Two Hours,” the event attracted students and their parents from all over the city. The project was created by the students in the Teaching Middle and Secondary Mathematics course taught by Dr. Connie Schrock. The evening comes together with the help of more than 60 other ESU students who volunteer to help.

At her station in the hallway of the middle school, ESU student volunteer Christina Poindexter gave middle school students puzzles that tested their problem-solving skills in a fun way. They had to match, according to difficulty, puzzle-pieces of squares, triangles, rectangles, etc., in formations matching several sheets of paper.

“They also learn spatial coordination and a bit of geometry,” explained Poindexter.

Middle school students and their parents went through 25 math game stations, including Sudoku, Tic-Tac-Geometry with world destinations, and paying for souvenirs in Euros. The students even wound and released rubber-band cars to test distance and drag.

“The students collected data and measured how far the car would go,” explains ESU math major Libby Mullin. “They set a distance goal and had to calculate how many times it would take to wind the car to reach that spot.”

“We wanted to show middle school students how fun math can be,” says ESU Mathematics Professor Dr. Connie Schrock, who helped math education students set up the event. “We also wanted to teach them the practicalities and importance of knowing math concepts and using them in everyday life.”

“There was a school full of kids and their parents working math problems on a Tuesday night with world geography and events thrown into the mix,” says ESU Teachers College Associate Dean Ken Weaver. “The events were clever and engaging.”

Who knew geometry and algebra could be so much fun?

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