by Brad Duncan
Faculty and students from the UK College of Education recently held their annual math night to the joy of teachers, students and parents at Lexington’s Beaumont Middle School.
“I truly do not have enough words to accurately describe how valuable math night was for our students,” said Brooke Powers, mathematics teacher at Beaumont. “It provided students and their families with an opportunity to play math games together. Having parents come in for a fun, positive experience is a great way to build positive relationships with parents which only further benefits students.”
Family Math Night (FMN) began in the Spring of 2008 to help satisfy the College’s desire to provide more outreach with local schools that involve preservice teachers in more informal activities with the schools. Coordinated by Associate Professor Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Craig Schroeder (then a graduate student in the College of Education), and former faculty member Tim Jacobbe, the first FMN was held at Booker T. Washington Academy where 200 students and parents took part in a variety of mathematics activities. Since then, FMNs have been held at Clark Middle School and Beaumont Middle School, with other sites targeted for future events.
Mohr-Schroeder says that FMNs are great experiences for both the families involved and the College’s preservice teachers.
“Through Family Math Nights, the schools have been able to bring families into the school and have them participate in mathematics games that are fun and enjoyable for everyone in the family,” Mohr-Schroeder said. “The parents are always very excited to about the event, and it is a lot of fun to watch them interact with their children. The events also allow our preservice teachers to gain ‘informal’ field experience hours in a different kind of setting. They love the fast-paced nature of the night and are always surprised at the number of families who attend and participate. It also gets them to think differently about the mathematics they teach, especially in terms of how they can turn ‘boring’ content into something fun, challenging and relevant.”
For more information on the UK College of Education’s mathematics and other STEM-related education programs, visit the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education website.