Parents of students at Lewis Vincent Elementary School sharpened their math skills Thursday as they watched their children practice a variety of math “games” during the school’s annual Math Night.
Held for more years than Principal Carol Robertson can remember, the event aims to show parents what their children are learning in school, and helps the youths to develop “mental math” skills they can practice anywhere.
“We’re trying to get students to use mental math,” Robertson said. “Math is not always paper and pencil.”
“We’re (also) showing the parents some of the strategies we’re doing here (at school),” Robertson said.
To accomplish this goal, Robertson and the teachers set up a variety of math games that required students to use addition, estimation and other math skills to calculate the correct answers. Counting stars required students to use addition to count the number of stars in the sky, Robertson said.
“This is something they can do anywhere,” she said.
More than 200 of the approximately 380 students enrolled at the public school attended Math Night in addition to former and prospective students — most of whom are siblings of current students, Robertson said.
For Sabrina Bishop, 9, Math Night helped her enhance several of the math concepts she has learned in the classroom but in a hands-on way.
“I think this helps me with strategizing, memorization and multiplication,” Sabrina said as she talked about her favorite game, which required her and the other students to estimate the number of Starburst candies in a jar.
“You can learn in a fun way,” she said. “You can move around and pick out what you want to do.”
Ashley Roddy, the mother of Kandence Manuel, 8, said she’s trying to learn the math skills her daughter is learning, and Math Night helps her do just that.
“Plus, it’s extra practice for them,” Roddy said. “They’re not just sitting at their desk. They can move around from place to place, and this motivates them.”
In addition to learning what her child is doing in class, the event gives parents a chance to come together and meet one another and for families to do something productive together, Roddy said.
“This is our fourth time coming,” Roddy said. “We try to go as a family each year.”
Robertson said the theme of this year’s Math Night was “Paparazzi,” to go along with the school’s theme of movies this year. Students who attended the event walked away with a Lewis Vincent megaphone, popcorn and paparazzi photos with their parents, Robertson said.
Lewis Vincent will host Literacy Night in the spring. The Title I school hosts a Math Night and a Literacy Night each year, Robertson said.
Title I, formerly known as Chapter 1, is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and is the foundation of the federal commitment to closing the achievement gap between low-income and other students.