'Eureka' experience is the best reward
Learning must be fun and related to the real world of the student. Debi Schmidt and Wendy Diskin, two of the many HUSD master math teachers, approached me with an offer I couldn't refuse. Within moments I was hog-tied into the "Superintendent's Monthly Math Challenge."
Each week I will visit a classroom and present a short mathematics enrichment lesson followed by a math challenge activity. During the month of October, we challenged a fifth grade at each elementary school with a math problem dealing with the metric system. During the lesson each student measured and recorded their height, hand span, and arm span in centimeters. on a 3x5 card. We discussed relationships from the recorded data along with comparisons of the height of the teacher and the height of parents to the height of the superintendent. The ultimate challenge for the students was to estimate the superintendent's arm span.
Every student who submits a written response to the superintendent receives a superintendent's "Mathlete" certificate. Those students who submit the best responses and/or correct responses will be invited to lunch with the superintendent. The students with the best responses will decide, through group consensus, a restaurant for the luncheon.
All responses from the participating students are placed on display in the superintendent's office. As one student respondent concluded, "I hope I get to eat with you. I would let you pick (where we eat) since you are paying. P.S. If I win don't pick something gross!"
I will provide a lesson on weight/measurements for fourth grades next month, followed by third grades in January, second grades in February, first grades in March and kindergarten in April. Next year the "Superintendent's Math Challenge" will engage the middle school and high school students.
There is nothing more rewarding than to witness the "Eureka" experience……the joy of students having fun and learning a new concept.