Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Starside math night adds up to fun

February 2, 2006

Sabrina Pirotte jumped up and down when she knew the notes in the square.

"That's a quarter note, so it's one," she said. "And those are half notes, so they're two!"

She added them together for the total, giving her team the tic-tac-toe advantage.

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Sabrina, a fourth-grader at Starside Elementary School, was one of the music math bingo players during last Thursday night's Starside Math Night. Hundreds of parents and families came to the event to celebrate learning math.

Starside's music teacher, Rachel Mikel, devised a math learning game for music students. Using common time in music tempos, the students were asked to add the number of notes in their chosen square. Sabrina's team won when they were able to get the most squares.

"I'm good at music and math," Sabrina said.

Her friend and teammate, Elizabeth Henderson, said the teachers have several methods to help them remember.

"I'm in the advanced class, and we're doing long division," she said. "I love math."

Students enjoyed a magic show, crafts, games and a fortuneteller. Scott Henderson, a magician from Kansas City, entertained students with math magic.

First-grade teacher Vergie Opdycke enthralled her students by dressing up as gypsy "Madame Magic Noomer" and reading each student their math "fortune. " Students lined up inside her darkened classroom, lit by lava lamps and her crystal ball. She asked each student a math problem, based on their grade level, and they tried to guess the answer hidden in her crystal ball.

Students also played a computer game called "lemonade stand." Using temperature, cost of materials and price as a variable, students tried to make a profit selling virtual lemonade.

"It's a lot like a real lemonade stand," said Molly Zahner, who has opened a real lemonade stand in De Soto over the summer.

Drew Schmucker said his favorite project was making geometry shapes. Students constructed various shapes using marshmallows and toothpicks and counted the number of vertices, face and edges.

"They're learning the different names," fourth-grade teacher Amanda Wilkins said. "We teach the older students about the octahedron, hexahedron, scalene triangle."

Starside associate principal and learning coach Tim Smith said the night was Starside's fourth math night. The school also has a read night in the fall.

"It's a good family night, and the teachers donate their time to make math exciting," he said.

Starside Elementary students will be taking the state math assessments later this spring. The school achieved the standard of excellence for math in the 2004-2005 school year. This year, the state is testing all third- through eighth-grade students in math. In previous years, only fourth-graders were tested in math at the elementary level.

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