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Explorations in Math

Everybody knows math isn’t always the most popular subject in school. This week on CityStream, Jeff Gentes reports on Seattle non-profit Explorations in Math’s work to make math fun and accessible for elementary school children.

 First stop: MathFest, the largest math event in Seattle. It’s kind of a game show cum festival of numeration held in the Rainier Community Center. This year, over 800 children, parents, teachers and volunteers attended the event designed to develop children’s interest in mathematics.

 Explorations in Math Executive Director Stephanie Cherrington says there is a real math crisis in Washington state where only 45 percent of 10th graders can pass the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) math test required for high school graduation.  Her solution? “More math but in engaging, fun and creative ways.” She explains, “One of the key elements in being successful in math is having the opportunity to practice math. Just like with literacy twenty [to] twenty-five years ago where we were told…‘Read to your kids, read to your kids, read to your kids, read to your kids.’ And the literary rates have gone up…It’s really important to give our kids the opportunity to do math.”

Next stop: the Dearborn Park Elementary school’s Explorations in Math Club. Teacher Andy Russell has sixty kids signed up and a waiting list of 25 others for his afterschool program that explores mathematics in exciting and creative ways. See how you can learn logic using popsicle sticks!