Golden Apple: Families Come Together For Walker-Hackensack-Akeley “Math Night”
For one night only, students from Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Elementary school can come together after school hours and practice their number skills, but math night isn’t only for the kids – the whole family gets involved.
“When we first started out, Math Night was held more in the winter, but we’ve moved it to the fall and it seems to work out really well. It’s a nice way to start the year with a family-centered activity,” says W-H-A Elementary School principal Jill McGowan.
Math Night is meant for all elementary school students from Pre-K to the 5th grade. It’s grown a lot over the years. The event usually sees around 250 parents and students. The evening starts with a meal in the cafeteria.
McGowan says, “We have games for every grade level. These are easy to replicate games that can be reproduced at home, and the whole goal of Math Night is to spread the love of math through games and get kids to learn while being engaged and enjoying it, not even really knowing they’re learning.
The teachers play a big role in Math night by planning the games.
“We’ve actually looked online and came up and made our own examples of what we found online. I know other people, it’s maybe something from their curriculum or maybe a game that they’ve used in their classroom,” says Erica Strandlie, a preschool teacher.
The games change every year, so families get something different each time they come. From bingo to board games, there’s always plenty to do.
Tracie Cloud, an attendee of game night, says, “We watched Princess and her friend count money, fake money and then it was like a contest. They was seeing who could count the fastest and who had the most was the winner.”
For some kids, putting learning math with games makes everything click.
Princess, a third grader who attended Math night, says, “Yeah, I got a little better at counting coins.”
Overall, the memories of Math Night are what people love the most.
“We have a really great reaction. We have great outcome. A lot of the kids love to see their teachers outside of the classroom so they get pretty excited when they get here and are able to see us,” says Strandlie.