Macleans kids find fun–not fear–in math

Erin Handy
By Erin Handy
February 23rd, 2011

It’s surprising, when you stop to think about it, how many ordinary activities involve a little math. And how many otherwise competent adults quake with fear or frustration when confronted with numbers. For many, that’s a pattern set in childhood, so early learning efforts hosted by School District 20 follow an easy formula: math + family = fun.


“First of all, math is fun,” said Denise Flick, district learning coordinator at School District 20, which puts on annual Family Math Nights in district elementary schools. “It’s an opportunity to enjoy the math experience with their families.” 

The fun at the Maclean event was apparent. Kids K-5 and their parents and siblings crowded a classroom filled with ordinary household board games, including many old standards: Yatzee, Snakes and Ladders, Crib. 

“Kids who play crib tend to find working with numbers a lot easier,” explained district learning coordinator Denise Flick, who pointed out that even Scrabble – heavily weighted toward vocabulary and spelling – involves some math in the score-keeping.

The event is sponsored by the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology, keen to see local kids grow up with an affinity for math and science. And  some learning might even have snuck itself in, along with plenty of laughter.

“If you have a fun activity planned, they’re engaged,” said Grade 1-2 teacher Jill Morgan, who said the night gave her some good classroom ideas. “I think these nights kind of enhance (that math can be fun). Tomorrow, they’ll tell their friends who weren’t here.”  

Flick was keeping track of the hits at Tuesday night’s event. She’ll bring Family Math Night to other schools in the district – all they have to do is ask. Last year, Family Math Night was held in Fruitvale and Castlegar as well as Rossland. This year, the next math night planned is in April at Kinnaird Elementary in Castlegar.

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