Teachers in one district are finding that a math club spreads enthusiasm and challenge for fifth graders.
Some children love sports, others love books. But ask a group of Meridian Elementary fifth graders what they love, and they’ll tell you it’s math.
The students are part of Meridian Mental Math and have been doing extra homework since the beginning of school, all in effort to perfect their skills in solving complex mathematical problems in their heads.
“I’m really interested in math,” BrayLyn Cass said. “It’s my best subject in school.”
The group, developed by third-grader teacher Christy Stevenson and Clay City Elementary fifth-grade teacher Carol Morris, recently presented their skills to the Clay Community Schools trustees hoping to spread the idea across the county.
“We’re hoping that since our presentation at the board meeting that other Clay Community schools are working to develop their own mental math teams,” Stevenson explained.
Stevenson and Morris started the program after noticing some students weren’t being challenged enough in the subject.
“I have some kids that excel in math. We just weren’t meeting their needs,” Stevenson said.
“We didn’t have anything for them. We had spelling bees for those that loved to spell, science fairs for those that did well in various sciences and even the Battle of the Books. However, we didn’t have much that we could do for those that did exceptionally well in mathematics.”
The teachers worked all summer to write the lessons that would be presented at each meeting as well as individual problems — 25 per week that would challenge students for the school year.
“These students started out just working towards doing simple math in their heads, addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Then we did multiple of tens, percentages, exponents and roots, and worked our way to negative numbers,” said Stevenson. “Some of the math packets took a little more effort than others but they all got the hang of it. After they did it so many times, it became second nature to them which was our goal.”
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