St. Mary’s hosts “Mathtastic Day” to show numbers can be fun

These grade six students of St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School with French Immersion demonstrated how they can code a Sphero robot. When they have the little robot land on a math-related question on a work sheet, they then work to solve it.

by Sylene Argent

For many individuals, math can be a tough school subject to conquer, but with enough initiative, and finding a preferred method from which to learn, students just may find some success in the block of their day dedicated to numbers, equations, and formulas.

  On Friday afternoon, St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School with French Immersion invited the parents of its grade three and six students to attend the first “Mathtastic” event, which was meant to engage parents on how their students were learning this school subject.

  Principal Jeremy Schiller said the parents of these two grades were selected as it is these students who are embarking on the province’s EQAO testing.

  The school, Schiller said, wanted to find ways to make math fun for its students, and further deliver the material in different ways, recognizing each student learns differently. This was done using the Renewed Mathematics Strategy (RMS).

  “We want students to not be afraid to make a mistake and learn from them,” Schiller said. “There’s a trend that kids don’t like math. We are trying to buck that trend here.”

  Through this group learning, it is hoped the students feel more willing to participate, and Schiller said that has been noticed, even from the students who initially did not. And, this is creating confidence in the classroom.  

  The event was hosted to demonstrate how the students were learning in the classroom, and the process of sharing answers after each student is challenged with an equation. Further, the parents were engaged on these learning methods so that they may be able to participate in solving math problems at home. In hopes of homework involvement, each parent was able to take home a package to help with this, which included items like a deck of cards and dice.

  Rob DePape, a teacher at St. Mary’s, explained some of what the students were learning during their math block. The grade six students, for instance, were learning how to code a Sphero robot. They worked to program it to stop. By using coding, the students place the little robot on a large work sheet. When it lands on a block, they have it stop, then work to solve the math question, which is typically related to former EQAO testing material. This helps prepare the students for their own testing. They would then move on to the next question.

  Schiller was pleased with the turnout of the event, and hoped the students’ parents walked away with a great understanding of the school’s math programs.