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Midvale Journal

Midvale Elementary’s math carnival offers math games, strategies for families

Dec 02, 2022 02:35PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Often when an elementary student may struggle with math, a teacher will re-teach the subject. With multiplication, for example, it can be taught a number of different ways so the student can grasp the concept and use the method that may best work for the individual.

In preparing for Midvale Elementary’s recent Math Carnival Family Game Night, fourth-grade teacher Amanda Kraft realized a session to teach parents several multiplication strategies would be beneficial.

“I thought teaching multiplication a bunch of different ways for parents would be the best way they could support a child at home is they know how we're doing it,” she said. “When students get home, they may not remember what that teachers showed.”

Kraft said that some of her students still are learning their multiplication facts, so she emphasizes its importance in class.

“When kids don't understand it, they need a strategy so we teach it many different ways because not everybody learns the same. We still teach the old-fashioned standard algorithm and that works for some students. Once I've taught all my students every way, they can pick the one that works best for them,” said Kraft, who has taught at Midvale Elementary for seven years.

During the math night, she modeled the distributive property, the box method and the tic tac toe method to families as she has done in the classroom for her students.

“It was an amazing experience. my classroom was just overflowing all four sessions. Some of our students came to the board and showed parents what we're doing in class so it was neat to see our parents being taught by their child and the parents’ eyes lit up the same way a child does when they understand,” Kraft said. “The best part was having parents happy they have a way to support their child at home that they may not have had before.”

Kraft said the idea of including this session in math night came from her open door policy. Last year one parent came several times, and said it was a great to know the methods so she could support her child.

“It's just really fun and engaging. We have a really good community who are interested in what their students are learning,” she said, adding that families were provided multiplication packets to help at home.

All 700 students received dice, playing cards, counters and other items in math kits, which United Way Day of Caring volunteers assembled. School PTA and Family Learning Center parents volunteered to assemble sack dinners.

In addition to multiplication, there were six other stations with math games, including adding math twists on favorites like a duck pond, Bingo, Snakes and Ladders and Two Seconds—If you blink, you will miss it. Students also practiced their skills on estimation and subitizing—ability to recognize the number of objects without counting them.

At the end of the evening, there was a drawing, said Heidi Sanger, Midvale Elementary Community Schools facilitator.

“We had somebody donate a variety of games that work on math skills, so we wrapped those up as gifts and drew names for those,” said Sanger, who along with other Title I community school facilitators recently were honored by Canyons School District as student support services professionals of the year. “It’s just a night to learn fun ways to do math that they can practice with their families and have the materials to do it.”