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math curriculum

Matthew Peterson

Part of MINDING MATH, a special report from MIND Research Institute

By MATTHEW PETERSON
Co-founder, MIND Research

Part of MINDING MATH, a special report from MIND Research Institute

Part of MINDING MATH: A special report from MIND Research Institute

Most teachers wouldn’t appreciate giving up the spotlight to a penguin. But at Colorado Springs School District 11, teachers don’t seem to mind.

That’s because their students are hooked on ST Math, MIND Research Institute’s innovative program that teaches math with the help of a computer-animated penguin named JiJi.

“We’ve seen upward movement in our students,” said Dave Sawtelle, K-12 math facilitator for the district. The kids, he said, actually look forward to math class.

When I was young, I loved puzzles. My favorite childhood toys were the Rubik’s Cube and the wooden tangram set my grandmother gave me. I’d request logic problems over bedtime stories from my father. He preferred withholding puzzles until morning to prevent me from staying up all night solving them.

Educators at the Los Angeles United School District face a unique challenge. The second largest school district in the country is home to more than 670,000 students and 1,092 school campuses where more than 100 languages are spoken.

Making the most out of fewer resources is a mantra recited by nearly every school district these days. So when Vickie Hallock, supervisor of elementary education at the Penn Manor (Pa.) School District, realized there would be a shortage of physical education teachers at the elementary level this school year, she saw it as an opportunity to introduce a new 21st-century skills course.

SEAS

In a major address on educational policy last March, President Barack Obama underscored his priorities for the pending reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. "We will end what has become a race to the bottom in our schools, and instead spur a race to the top by encouraging better standards and assessments," he promised. "This is an area where we're being outpaced by other nations. They are preparing their students not only for high school or college, but for a career. We are not."

STEM—the catchy shorthand for "science, technology, engineering and mathematics"—has been part of the school improvement discussion for more than a decade, as educational leaders and policy makers have underscored the importance of these areas in preparing students for an internationally competitive, 21st-century economy.

 

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