Students collaborate with Dodgeville Elementary for Family Math Night

Sixteen University of Wisconsin-Platteville students recently collaborated with teaching staff at Dodgeville (Wis.) Elementary School to present Family Math Night for students and their families. It was the first time the program has been held for students from Early Childhood through fifth grade.

Students were enrolled in the university’s Teaching Elementary Mathematics course, taught by Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer of mathematics at UW-Platteville.

Under the direction of Grunow, students developed and delivered the program activities, working side-by-side with Dodgeville Elementary School teachers. All of the Dodgeville teachers, with the exception of one, are UW-Platteville graduates. All had planned and coordinated Family Math Nights, as UW-Platteville students, through the university’s Teaching Elementary Mathematics course.

To prepare for Family Math Night, students became familiar with Dodgeville Elementary School’s mathematics curriculum, identifying appropriate program activities then communicating with school district personnel for approval. Following, Julie Piper, principal at Dodgeville Elementary School, met with students to discuss the selected activities.

Students then developed the activities, assembled the needed materials, developed appropriate assessments to determine student learning, created appropriate signage – including identification of the Common Core State Standards and the Mathematical Practices represented in the activities – and designed at-home learning extensions so students could continue learning.

“The evening was a huge success with many enthusiastic participants,” said Grunow. “Over the years, we have had such a positive relationship with Dodgeville Elementary School. Preparation and delivery of mathematical investigations allow our university students a unique opportunity to interact with school faculty, elementary students and parents of those students. It is a hands-on practicum that can’t be matched in a standard university setting.”

Grunow noted that in their end-of-class assessments, all of the students felt the Family Math Night experiences – three this past semester – were some of the best and most authentic teaching experiences that they had.

“I recall one of the students remarking that the three Family Math Night experiences were invaluable,” said Grunow. “Having three of the experiences actually mirrored teaching – several opportunities to present, refine and re-present.”

The efforts of university students were enhanced by UW-Platteville mathematics professors Dr. Jason Thrun, Dr. Barb Barnet and Dr. Mary Paler, who led Mathematicum activities – a collection of rich, mathematical investigations that students and parents can explore and enjoy.

In addition to the exploratory activities, several National Honor Society high school students helped with related activities, such as assisting students with snacks that the students measured themselves in the cafeteria.

UW-Platteville students who planned and implemented Family Math Night include: Sonya Beversluis, Madeline Bovre, Maddison Clemens, Parker Debroux, Jaelyn Diercks, Melissa Flanagan, Kaelibeth Jandro, Alexa Knoble, Macy Krier, Katrya Lessman, Kelly Michaelsen, Amy Smith, Karissa Spiller, Haley Steger, Kenzie Strutt and Danielle Till.