At Butterfield Canyon Elementary School, a math competition thrives with a Star Wars theme as students prepare for year end testing. Students dressed up as characters from the famous movie series, and participated in “Math Wars.”
“I think kids learn better when kinesthetic learning and other active activities are part of review,” said fourth grade teacher, Jeff Draper, who produced the school’s first annual “Math Wars.” “There’s scientific research that backs that up, but it’s easy to see the kids like it, too.”
Draper created a Power Point to announce the competition last April, with scrolling yellow text, just like the beginning of each of the Star Wars movies. He challenged them through the math competition to defeat the Math Star, an armored space station which could destroy all math homework in the universe.
Teachers were referred to as “Jedi masters” and helped students prepare. Students traveled between classrooms, aka planets, with light sabers, capes, and robes, competing by solving different math questions. Students were eliminated based on time and accuracy.