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West Elementary takes hands-on approach to math

Students at West Elementary have been working with more than pencils and paper as they get ready for the standardized test they will take in a couple of weeks, the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program. April 13-14, they took part in a math fair in the cafeteria.

Working through individual real-world applications of the math skills they have been learning is a process meant to help deepen their understanding. It’s an effort made in connection with AMSTI at the University of North Alabama – the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative.

“The event got started this year,” explained AMSTI specialist Chasity Parker. “The goal is to help with geometry, measurement and data standards.”

Kimberly Crane, West Elementary math coach, explained these are typically the lowest standards statewide. “That’s why we are focusing on these areas. It’s what the students struggle with the most in math.”

Activities included making line plots based on measurement of real-world objects, using tiles to build arrays and using play money to practice counting money skills. They also worked with geoboards to partition shapes to help learn about fractions. They cycled through 10 stations, including:

  • Line plot using measurement
  • Measurement using centimeters and inches
  • Word problems about length
  • Length problems using a number line
  • Counting $1 using coins
  • Partitioning shapes using geoboards
  • Building and array
  • Counting a jar of coins
  • Estimating and comparing lengths
  • Describing fractional parts

“The students and teachers alike were super excited about this approach,” said Crane. “Teachers along with volunteers and translators helped facilitate the activities. Teachers brought a class list and made notes at each station about who might need further help in specific areas before the test.

“I’m so pleased we were able to have this hands-on approach to help our students have the best opportunities for reinforcing their skills and expanding their knowledge.”

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