From the colorful mats on the gym floor to the hopping and skipping children; you would never guess that they were learning math. The Binghamton City School District has been trying a new strategy to help children get excited about math. The program, called “Math & Movement” is a national program created in Ithaca, N.Y. that boosts math and literacy skills and fosters an ‘I can do math’ attitude. It is a kinesthetic, multi-sensory approach to teaching math that incorporates physical exercise, stretching, and visually pleasing floor mats. The math-movements are uniquely designed to build number sense and improve students’ basic math and reading skills, critical thinking and their ability to focus and learn.
Taylor Ewy is a consultant with the “Math & Movement” program. She said that using a kinetic approach allows the left and right halves of the brain to interact.
“My favorite part is working with the students and helping them learn something that they were struggling with,” Ewy said. “There’s nothing better than seeing a child learn something for the first time.”
Brenda Lidestri, Director of Math, Science and Technology, Early Childhood - Grade 12 said the ‘Math & Movement’ Family Fun Nights are an opportunity to get kids and parents together and show them that learning math can be fun.
“This is a great program,” Lidestri said. “Kids like to move and this combines movement with learning math so it’s a win-win.”
Anthony Gardner is a parent of two at Wilson and he said his kids rushed him out the door to get to the family fun night.
“I think it’s fundamental, educational and good for the kids to interact with other people,” he said. “I think it’s a great program.”
The district has hosted ‘Math & Movement’ programs at Benjamin Franklin and Woodrow Wilson Elementary Schools. These programs were sponsored by Dryden Mutual Insurance Group. Another ‘Math & Movement’ night is scheduled in the fall at Calvin Coolidge Elementary School.