This year, our K-7 school decided to host a math night. Math is my favorite subject to teach and so I was super-excited to plan some activities for my students. We sent home notes to all of the students, giving parents the date and general info about what we were doing and asked for the slips to come back with the number of students who would be attending. This way, we had a bit of an idea as to how many kids to prepare for. It was apparent that the parents and students were interested - so off we went planning the activities!
The whole vision for the night was to build parent engagement, and to try to break down some of the walls with the frustration that can result for everyone around math because the parent was taught one way and the students may be taught a different way. Many times, parents are trying to help by offering a different method, but the students get frustrated because "That's not how we do it in class." There are so many ways to solve a problem! They should be open to all of the possibilities!
We invited in an engaging math consultant to speak to parents about "the new math" that their children are a part of (about 25 minutes). The other 35 minutes was spent with teachers, parents and their children together, taking part in various math activities. I chose to prepare a math scavenger hunt for the 11 grade 7 students who chose to come to Math Night. Eleven out of 38! I was so excited that they came! At this age, you risk it not being "the cool thing to do". Anyhow, they came! For my scavenger hunt, I went around the school the week prior to math night, noting bulletin boards and displays in the corridors and made up little clues. Once students figured out the clue, they had to do some sort of calculation with the number, based on what we've been working on recently in class. For example:
"Fishing can be a job or a hobby,
Locate the digit in the ten thousands place,
If I were you, I'd check the lobby!"
There is a mural in the lobby with a fishing boat...and then students had to perform a calculation with that digit. I had a lot of fun putting it together! And, more importantly, students had a great time doing the scavenger hunt! They were literally sweating by the end because I had them travelling all over the school! It was awesome!
Other classes had SMART Board games or board games in their classrooms. One teacher prepared a handout with math sites for parents to take home with them. And, every child left with a little "grab bag" of math goodies (dice, cards etc.) a cookie and juice box.
Our little town had the best turnout the math consultant had seen and everyone left with smiles on their faces - staff, parents and students. It was simply a great night and I hope we do it again next year!
Have you ever held a Math Night at your school? A Science Night? I'd love to hear more!